Hard Rock International gaming and hospitality giant will obtain a licence to run a temporary casino in Bristol’s Virginia City while its proposed main gaming resort is under construction, news has emerged this week.
The temporary facility will be situated inside the former Bristol Mall which was also chosen as the location of the future casino-hotel Hard Rock Bristol.
News that Hard Rock will apply for a temporary gaming licence could emerge after the Florida-based casino and hospitality operator was chosen by the Bristol City Council late last month as the preferred developer of the first Las Vegas-style gaming property in town.
The selection process last month was just a formality because Hard Rock was in fact the only company to respond to Bristol ‘s request for casino proposal submissions, and city leaders expressed their support for the project of the developer months earlier when it was first submitted.
Details about Hard Rock ‘s temporary casino in Bristol are yet to be released, as the company still has a long way to go before it can operate a gambling venue in the city, despite the City Council ‘s approval last month.
Bristol officials submitted the proposal for Hard Rock to the Virginia Lottery Board for review and approval. The City Council will then have to approve a resolution requesting that the Circuit Court order a casino referendum in November.
The fate of Bristol ‘s planned casino will eventually be determined in a November 3 citywide referendum. During a public hearing held in May the proposal received overwhelmingly positive reviews. However, whether residents will vote to have a gambling venue within town limits is yet to be seen.
Under a Virginia lawmakers approved casino expansion legislation earlier this year, Bristol was one of five cash-strapped cities that were given the green light to host casinos in a bid to improve their economies. Nonetheless, none of these cities will have a gambling venue without special permission from the voters.
Hard Rock told City Councilors that, depending on demand, its casino will initially feature 1,500 slot machines which could be expanded to 2,700 gaming devices. In addition, the casino floor will have 100 table games and a sportsbook.
As previously reported, the property will be situated at the site of the former Bristol Mall. Hard Rock’s Bristol complex will also include a 300-room hotel that could be extended to 750 rooms, seven restaurants, four bars, 30,000 square feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of meeting and conference facilities, a 3,200-seat indoor entertainment venue and a 20,000-person outdoor entertainment venue.
Hard Rock said its resort would be “a catalyst for the entire region, helping to create jobs at local businesses that will serve the 4 million tourists a year coming to Bristol to enjoy our outdoor beauty and visit the many wonderful entertainment, cultural, and recreational attractions across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.”