Construction plans are underway for Hard Rock International's temporary casino in Bristol, Va., the company's first major milestone in the city. Hard Rock announced the plans for its Virginia gaming facility in a company press release on Thursday.
"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 & casino in the state," Hard Rock International chief operating officer Jon Lucas said. "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 temporary full-service casino boasts approximately 30,000 square feet of casino space, featuring approximately 900 gaming slots and 20 tables for a variety of gaming options, the company said. The space will include a main casino floor as well as non-smoking and high limit gaming areas.
“Guests will also be able to enjoy a new restaurant, a grab and go food outlet, and a sports bar and lounge with entertainment along with an adjacent smoking sports lounge,” the company said in a news release. The temporary casino will have a sportsbook, Virginia lottery offices, retail stores and create 600 new jobs in Bristol.
Construction will begin soon at the former Bristol Mall with a temporary casino slated to open before the end of the second quarter of 2022.
There are no Virginia online casinos yet in the state 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.
Permanent Virginia 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 resort will also feature a Rock Shop and retail store, Rock Spa and Body Rock fitness center, a convention and meeting space, and a country music memorabilia experience. Hard Rock also announced that the Bristol property will include a racing experience, sport experience and interactive sports and eSports simulator.
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.
The state gave permission for a fifth casino project to be considered, but last month, voters in Richmond rejected a referendum to build a casino in the state capital.
Virginia Sports Betting Sets Records
Despite that referendum defeat in Richmond, the state’s gaming options are becoming easier to access, with the temporary Hard Rock project the latest example.
The Virginia sports betting market, which is online only until brick-and-mortar casinos offer sportsbooks, has been setting records ever since it started early this year.
Virginia brought in $427.3 million in sports betting handle for October, placing it among the nation’s top 10 states with a sports wagering market, according to the Virginia Lottery.