Hard Rock to break ground Wednesday on permanent Virginia casino at former Bristol Mall

Hard Rock to break ground Wednesday on permanent Virginia casino at former Bristol Mall
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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, which earlier this year became the first casino in Virginia, announced Thursday it is inching closer to moving into its permanent home. Officials will break ground at the casino’s permanent site at the former Bristol Mall, at 500 Gate City Highway, on December 7.

The $400 million property, set to open in July 2024, will replace a 30,000-square-foot temporary venue that opened in the former Belk store at Bristol Mall in July. 

The permanent casino will includea 3,200-seat performance venue and a 20,000-person capacity outdoor entertainment venue. The casino will be open 24/7 and is expected to generate about 1,200 to 1,500 jobs. It will also include two hotel towers, a pool, and more.

Hard Rock executives will be joined at the groundbreaking by local elected officials and business and community leaders, according to a press release. The festivities will also feature remarks by several key figures from Hard Rock and the Bristol community.

Bristol Casino - Future Home of Hard Rock, opened the doors to its temporary facility on July 8. Its casino floor is filled with lines of slot machines and table games such as roulette, blackjack and baccarat. It also includes a sportsbook. 

The Hard Rock casino’s local co-developers, Jim Glothlin, chairman of The United Co., and Par Ventures LLC President Clyde Stacy, were instrumental in changing state gambling laws to allow casinos in economically challenged Virginia cities. 

The casino isone of four currently planned in the state. Rivers Casino Portsmouth announced last month that it will open to the public on January 15. Proposed casinos are also underway in Danville and Norfolk. 

Bristol Casino generated $40.3 million in adjusted gross revenue through September, with $7.2 million going to the state in taxes with $2.4 million to be split among the localities of Southwest Virginia.

The Bristol Casino also provided more than $22,900 to four local charitable causes during the period. Team members raised more than $12,800 for Habitat for Humanity, provided $6,400 in sponsorship and donations to the 911 Stair Climb Memorial, over $2,700 to the local VFW, and $1,000 to the Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk. Furthermore, the casino plans to partner with the Feeding Southwest Virginia food bank and Salvation Army in November.

Under its temporary capacity, the casino boasts 30,000 square feet of gaming space, featuring 870 slots, 21 tables, and a sportsbook. The property is open to the public 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, with ample parking.  The space includes the main casino floor as well as non-smoking and high-limit gaming areas.