Temporary full-service casino “Bristol Casino - Future Home of Hard Rock” celebrated Friday morning its grand opening, with a ceremony featuring Hard Rock executives and partners, state and local officials, local community members, and business and civic leaders. Hard Rock claims the venue will be an economic driver for Bristol, Virginia.
The date included a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the first Virginia casino, with the signature Hard Rock guitar smashing slated for when the permanent casino opens. During the event, Bristol Casino presented a $100,000 donation to the United Way of Bristol TN/VA from gaming proceeds generated at July 5 and 7 casino events.
Jon Lucas, COO of Hard Rock International, spoke about the opening and said: “We are excited to open the temporary casino in Bristol. Hard Rock’s rich and storied music legacy is a perfect fit for Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music. The casino’s gaming and dining amenities will make it a major entertainment destination for residents from across the region."
The temporary casino has 30,000 square feet of casino space featuring 870 slots, 21 tables, and a sportsbook, all open to the public 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The space includes a main casino floor as well as non-smoking and high-limit gaming areas. Guests can also enjoy restaurants such as Lucky’s, Brick’d, and sports bar and lounge Bristol Bar.
Jim McGlothin, Chairman of The United Company and Clyde Stacy, President of Par Ventures, added: “We are glad that the project is having an immediate impact in boosting Bristol’s economy, by bringing at least 600 new, good-paying jobs to the city. This is only a start, as the project will generate even more jobs when the permanent casino opens."
Located at the site of the former Bristol Mall, “Bristol Casino - Future Home of Hard Rock” is situated seconds off Interstate 81 (Exit 1 in VA). The temporary casino is "an opening act destined to transform into a headliner" when the permanent Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol is completed, which is expected to occur within 24 months.
The temporary casino is expected to create at least 600 new jobs in Bristol, and generate significant additional tax revenue for the city, the region and the Commonwealth, Hard Rock International claims.
During its first weekend in activity, thousands of people enjoyed the property's offering. "The strong demand over the opening weekend was consistent with the level of enthusiasm that we’ve been experiencing first-hand in the community for months," Evangelista stated after seeing the first three days' performance.
“Parking and traffic was not unlike what we have experienced with other casino openings," she explained. "Traffic flow into the property has reflected the strong interest we were anticipating. We are prepared to manage this demand so that our guests continue to have a welcoming experience.”
The Virginia Lottery Board unanimously approved the casino gaming operator's license for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol back in April after a two-hour presentation by officials of Hard Rock International and representatives of HR Bristol. The project is a joint effort by Hard Rock International; The United Company and its Chairman Jim McGlothlin; Par Ventures and its President Clyde Stacy.
The casino project required legislation supported during two consecutive sessions of the Virginia General Assembly followed by public referendums in the five cities chosen as possible sites because of economic hardships.