Danville voters will decide in November whether to allow pari-mutuel wagering — also known as off-track betting — in the city so a company can open a proposed Rosie's Gaming Emporium here. 

Circuit Judge Joseph Milam signed the order Wednesday for the referendum to be held Nov. 5. 

The offtrack pari-mutuel wagering question will be:

"Shall pari-mutuel betting be permitted in the City of Danville at satellite facilities in accordance with Chapter 29 of Title 591. of the Code of Virginia?"

Milam's order requires that the clerk of court send a copy of the order to the Virginia Department of Elections and to the secretary of the Electoral Board of the city of Danville.

Under Virginia law, localities that have not already approved pari-mutuel wagering require a voter referendum before such a facility can come to their community.

Colonial Downs Group, which owns the Colonial Downs horse racetrack in New Kent County, needed 1,403 verified signatures to get the question on the ballot. They were required to get signatures from at least 5% of registered voters who live in Danville. As of Jan. 1, the city had 28,054 registered voters.

Registrar Peggy Petty had 1,765 verified signatures out of the 3,481 that petitioners estimated they submitted. 

In May, Danville resident Trina McLaughlin, on behalf of Colonial Downs Group, submitted the paperwork to start the petition process for a voter referendum on the subject. The company runs multiple off-track betting sites throughout Virginia. An announcement about a preferred site in Danville is expected to be made during the referendum campaign, company spokesman Mark Hubbard said in a previous interview. 

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Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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