Hard Rock Sportsbook Live in Virginia; Opening Date for Temporary Bristol Casino Set

Hard Rock Sportsbook Live in Virginia; Opening Date for Temporary Bristol Casino Set

Hard Rock International announced Thursday that its online sportsbook is live in Virginia, a day after saying it would open its temporary casino in Bristol on July 8.

Hard Rock Sportsbook is joining a Virginia sports betting market that currently is all online. It had a record handle of $485.5 million in handle for January.

Located at 500 Gate City Highway, the Bristol Casino would be ready for business in a little more than three months, City of Bristol Major Anthony Farnum announced on Facebook, citing a news release from Hard Rock International.

“As Virginia’s first casino, Bristol Casino — Future Home of Hard Rock will be a wonderful addition to the Hard Rock global portfolio of dining, hotel and entertainment properties,” Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International, said in the release. “I am pleased by the significant progress that Allie Evangelista and her team are making toward a July 8 grand opening.”

Evangelista was appointed president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol in February.

“We continue to hire new team members daily and are working hard to fill remaining positions with hiring events over the next couple of months, including two events next week,” Evangelista said.

Hard Rock hopes the temporary casino will be a major draw to Bristol and the region as it moves toward completion of the full-scale resort and casino.

“The project will spur economic growth, additional tax revenue and create new jobs for the city and its surrounding areas,” Lucas said in the release.

The temporary facility will have about 30,000 square feet of casino space, featuring approximately 900 gaming slots, 20 tables and a sportsbook for a variety of gaming options, the release noted. The facility is located at the former Bristol Mall.

Hard Rock had previously announced that the temporary facility would open in the second quarter of 2022.

Permanent Bristol Casino Plans

The permanent casino, to come later, will include: Seven restaurants and four bars, a 3,200-seat Hard Rock Live venue, a 20,000-person outdoor entertainment venue, a country western nightlife experience and a Hard Rock Cafe. The project will cost more than $300 million.

The new Bristol location will hold memorabilia pieces from country music legends Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and others, including Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Buck Owens and Hank Williams.

Virginia cities Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all passed casino referendums in November 2020 by large margins.

Richmond recently was approved to hold a second referendum in November on the state’s fifth casino project.

There are no online casinos in Virginia yet, but gaming in the state is becoming more accessible, with a robust sports betting market doing very well in its first full year of operation.

Hard Rock Sportsbook Launches

Following the announcement of their temporary casino's grand opening in Bristol, Hard Rock on Thursday announced its online sportsbook is now live in Virginia.

HR Bristol, LLC, obtained a permit to operate in the state from the Virginia Lottery on Thursday and opened the sportsbook the same day. Hard Rock Sportsbook is the 12th sports betting app to open in Virginia.

New users can cash in on three risk-free bets up to $100.



Keith Stein is a Virginia-based writer for BetVirginia.com who covers sports betting and casinos.

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