Construction begins on Hard Rock casino in Bristol

Virginia Business

Temporary casino to open in second quarter of 2022

Construction has started on the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol’s temporary casino, with opening scheduled in the second quarter of 2022, Hard Rock International Inc. announced Thursday.

Before its permanent casino is built, Hard Rock will build a 30,000-square-foot casino at the former Bristol Mall. It will feature 900 gaming slots and 20 tables for gaming options. It will have a main casino floor and non-smoking and high limit gaming areas, plus a new restaurant, grab-and-go food outlet, sports bar and lounge with entertainment and adjacent smoking sports lounge. The site will have a sportsbook, Virginia lottery offices and a retail store.

Construction will begin soon in the former women’s Belk store in the building.

The temporary casino will create 600 jobs, Hard Rock anticipates.

“We’ve introduced the Hard Rock experience to a number of cities this year, and our presence in Bristol, Virginia, is especially rewarding for the brand as the project is our first hotel and casino in the state,” Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International, said in a statement. “The project will spur economic growth, additional tax revenue and create new jobs for the city and its surrounding areas. We look forward to welcoming Hard Rock fans in the new year.”

The permanent casino, to come later, will be 90,000 square feet and cost about $400,000, creating 2,000 jobs once it is fully operational and 1,500 indirect jobs. It will have a 3,200-seat performance venue and 20,000-person capacity outdoor entertainment venue. Once operational, it is expected to bring $21 million in annual tax revenue for Bristol.

In November 2020, Bristol voters overwhelmingly approved the casino plans via referendum, as did voters in Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. The casino is being developed by former coal mining magnates Jim McGlothlin, chairman and CEO of The United Co., and Clyde Stacy, president of Par Ventures.