Virginia’s first full-service casino opens in Bristol

The Center Square
Virginia’s first full-service casino opens in Bristol

(The Center Square) – Hard Rock International opened a temporary full-scale casino in Bristol, Virginia, which is the first of four planned casinos to open in the commonwealth now that casino gambling is legal.

Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the company’s newest casino, is at the site of the former Bristol Mall, off of Exit 1 of Interstate 81. The temporary casino will remain operating until Hard Rock launches its permanent casino, which it expects to finish in about two years.

"We are excited to open the temporary casino in Bristol," Jon Lucas, the COO of Hard Rock International, said in a statement.

"Hard Rock's rich and storied music legacy is a perfect fit for Bristol, the 'Birthplace of Country Music,”' Lucas said. “The casino's gaming and dining amenities will make it a major entertainment destination for residents from across the region. We appreciate the ongoing collaboration from the Virginia Lottery. Their team has been great to work with. Finally, we look forward to opening the permanent casino within two years and bringing the full legendary Hard Rock experience to Bristol."

Hard Rock predicts that the casino will create 600 new jobs in the region.

The temporary casino has 870 slot machines, 21 tables and a sportsbook. The location is about 30,000 square feet and will operate seven days per week and 24 hours per day. The location has a main casino, a non-smoking area and a high-limit gaming area. The establishment will also include two new eating locations and a sports bar.

"Wow, what an amazing day for Bristol!" Allie Evangelista, the president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, said in a statement. "Lots of hard work and preparation has gone into getting ready for the Grand Opening of 'Bristol Casino - Future Home of Hard Rock.' I could not be prouder of our amazing team in the energy and enthusiasm they have shown to help us open the doors to guests today. The casino will join the region's other fun entertainment and recreational tourism assets to help attract even more visitors to Bristol, the Tri-Cities and Southwest Virginia. Come check out the casino – to game and dine – you'll love it!"

Former Gov. Ralph Northam signed bipartisan legislation in 2020, which authorized casino gambling in Virginia. The legislation was intended to boost economic activity in the state and compete with neighboring states that already allowed casino operation.

There are three other casinos planned, to date. Caesars plans to open a casino in Danville, Rivers plans to open a casino in Portsmouth and Headwaters plans to open a casino in Norfolk.

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