Hard Rock International Preps Virginia Mall For Temporary Casino

Written By Brant James on December 20, 2021

Hard Rock International has suffered recent setbacks with its Florida sports betting endeavors, but its plan for a Virginia casino remains on track.

Specifically, this week the Seminole Tribe-owned global hospitality and gaming corporation began constructing a temporary casino in Bristol, Va., scheduled for opening in the second quarter of 2022. In detail, the 30,000-square-foot casino site in Bristol Mall will house:

  • 900 slot machines
  • 20 gaming tables
  • Non-smoking and high-limit areas
  • A sportsbook

Furthermore, the permanent hotel, casino, and resort timetable have not been announced.

“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,” says Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International.

“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.”

After losing Florida, Hard Rock should add Virginia to the sports betting portfolio

Hard Rock Digital, the online gaming arm of the company, does not have a license yet in Virginia. However, there is plenty of room in the market, with 18 VA sports betting licenses open.

Virginia would become the third state where Hard Rock is operational for sports wagering, except Florida, where a federal judge shut down betting.

In addition, the new casino will extend over 90,000 square feet, cost roughly $400,000, and create at least 2,000 jobs. The casino will feature a 3,200 performance venue and a 20,000-capacity outdoor venue.

Bristol voters in 2020 approved the casino – 72% – through a referendum in a significant expansion of casino gambling in Virginia. Voters followed suit in Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. A similar effort failed in Richmond.

Bristol casino has expectations to be the first new wave to open and likely benefit from its proximity to Tennessee. The Tennessee-Virginia state line splits the town.

Photo by Nolichuckyjake / Shuterstock.com
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Brant James

Brant James is a veteran journalist who has twice been recognized in the Associated Press Sports Editors Awards, most recently in 2020. He's covered motorsports, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball among a myriad of others beats and written enterprise and sports business for publications including USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com.

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