Virginia’s First Casino Opens In Bristol

Virginia’s first casino, the temporary Hard Rock Bristol, recently opened in a former mall with 870 slots, 21 table games, a sportsbook, food service and a Hard Rock store. The permanent casino resort is on track to open in May 2024.

In Virginia, visitors waited in a long line for the 2 p.m. opening of Hard Rock Bristol‘s temporary casino on July 8, located in the former Belk department store at the Bristol Mall. The 30,000-square-foot venue offers 870 slot machines, 21 table games and a sportsbook, plus grab-and-go food, beverage service and a Hard Rock retail store.

Hard Rock Bristol President Allie Evangelista said, “I’ve been in a lot of casinos. This is as nice, if not nicer, than some places I’ve been and operated before. And it’s a temporary property. I’m really proud of the work. The product we have here is really nice.”

Construction on the 500,000-square-foot permanent Hard Rock Bristol is proceeding. It’s expected to open in May 2024 and offer a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,500 slots, 55 table games and a sportsbook. The facility also will have a 300-room hotel, a Hard Rock Café and 14 additional dining options, plus a 2,000-seat indoor concert venue and outdoor amphitheater.

Hard Rock Bristol has created 1,000 construction jobs and will employ 2,000 people when completed. It’s expected to attract 4 million visitors a year and generate anywhere from $16 million to $21 million in tax revenue.

Virginia legalized five casinos in 2018 and cities that conducted referendums approving the casinos have been selected as hosts. In addition to Bristol, Caesars won the bid for Danville and Rush Street won the bid for Norfolk, and the Pamunkey tribe was selected by Portsmouth. The media company Urban One was selected in Richmond, but the referendum failed. Meanwhile, Petersburg has entered the sweepstakes and will join Richmond with a vote on gaming later this year.