Hard Rock Chosen To Operate Proposed Virginia Casino

Hard Rock International, a Florida-based casino and hospitality group, was chosen as the developer of a planned casino in the Bristol area in the state of Virginia, the partners behind the project announced Friday.

News of Hard Rock deciding to operate the gaming facility is coming as Virginia is allowing casino gambling on its territory. The news of the Bristol proposal first emerged in the summer of 2018. The venue for betting is scheduled for the former Bristol Mall.

Jim McGlothlin, a management scheme associate, said Friday that the Hard Rock deal followed months of negotiations with both the developer and the project’s investors.

Announcing that the future casino of the city would be run by the Florida-based company, Mr. McGlothlin said they’re excited to partner with a “well-respected and legendary entertainment brand with legions of devoted customers across the country and around the world.”

He added that Hard Rock’s iconic brand “speaks to its deep roots in live music entertainment and world-class memorabilia collection, which will play a prominent role at Hard Rock Casino Bristol” and will “complement our region’s country music heritage.”

Hard Rock is expected to announce its involvement this coming Monday, November 25, in the Bristol casino project, which will be Hard Rock’s first operation its in Virginia.

City Manager Randall Eads said Friday that he: “cannot think of a better place for Hard Rock Casino to be than here in Bristol, Virginia.” The city’s top official went on that the Hard Rock brand is synonymous with music and “with our storied history of music here in Bristol, to have a partner aligned with the music industry like Hard Rock is, I cannot think of a more exciting time to be in the city of Bristol.”

The Bristol project will generate 2,000 jobs in its first year of operation and 5,200 jobs in its first seven years, according to a 2018 report on the casino’s projected economic impact. Conducted by Virginia research firm Chmura, the study also projected that the gaming venue would attract four million visitors per year and generate an annual economic impact of $1 billion.

The property plans include a hotel, a music venue, a conference and convention centre, dining outlets, and retail space as well as a casino floor.

Mr. McGlothlin, who is one of the partners that announced the project in August 2018, said Friday that after examining multiple gaming industry leaders, “we are convinced that Hard Rock is the best fit for our project and our community,” as the company understands “the significant economic development impact” that the casino could have on Bristol and the surrounding area in terms of jobs and tax revenue.

Virginia lawmakers passed a law that paved the way this past February for the construction of the state’s first casinos. Instead of clearing the path to constructing the gambling facilities, however, the law required a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to conduct a study on best business practises and the impact of gambling on citizens of Virginia.

It is planned that the document will be submitted to lawmakers next week. Once that occurs, between January 1 and June 30, 2020, the Virginia Lottery Board will have to draw up the rules under which the casinos of the state will operate.

Earlier this week, State Rep. Barry Knight pre-filed a bill allowing the Virginia Legislature to fully implement the legislative piece’s provisions that were approved in February. Rep. Knight’s piece is to be reviewed during next year’s legislative session by fellow legislators in Richmond.