Hard Rock International has been given the greenlight by the Virginia Lottery to develop and operate a casino in Bristol, Virginia. The Virginial Lottery Board approved the casino operator during its quarterly meeting held on July 15 through means of electronic communication.
Hard Rock International was the one and only candidate allowed to build a casino in Bristol—one of five cities allowed to host land-based gaming facilities along the stateline in Virginia. The state legislature approved a bill earlier this year allowing Richmond, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Danville and Bristol to develop casinos. This was intended to provide the said cities another source of revenue for their coffers, with the final decision depending on local public votes. The approval granted by the Virginia Lottery Board has opened the doors for a city-wide referendum to be conducted as early as November 3.
Hard Rock’s casino project envisions a full-scale hotel and casino at the vacant Bristol Mall. It will also include restaurants, fine dining outlets, space for retailers, a concert hall, a convention center, pools and a spa inside the hotel area. The casino operator expects the hotel and casino to attract over 4 million visitors every year, generating 2,000 new jobs and is expected to have an overall economic impact in over $1 billion annually, increasing by $4.5 billion for the first five years of operations.