To open in 2024

Virginia: Hard Rock Bristol to break ground on its permanent casino this month

Rendering of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, Virginia.
Reading time 2:10 min

It was four months ago that the temporary facility of the new Hard Rock Bristol Casino in Virginia opened. The resort has seen great success since then and on Friday Bristol Casino President Allie Evangelista said that the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the full property is expected this month, as corporate executives from Hard Rock International have now approved the details of the project.

"We are very excited. We will have a groundbreaking ceremony in the next few weeks. We should be starting some additional demos, potentially as early as next week. We are ready to move forward and will be opening spring-summer of 2024," Evangelista told the Bristol Herald Courier.

Hard Rock's Allie Evangelista

"Not having a hotel and a destination resort, we expect to be more of a locals market and people driving within maybe 100 miles is basically what we’re seeing the most right now," Evangelista said, according to the above-mentioned media. "That is very traditional in markets like this. Our demographic and our visits will change quite a bit once we have a hotel too."

As stated by Evangelista, the casino already has more than 50,000 members enrolled in its customer loyalty program, exceeding expectations. "I think where we’re surprised and maybe we didn’t expect to be as high as the number of signups. Having 50,000 people in our database after four months of operation is very strong — about double what we expected, which is good for us," she said.

In September, the casino saw a decline in visitation; although Evangelista said this was to be expected with the "change of seasons" and "people going back to school." However, she predicts visitation might once again increase in the coming months of winter. "It’s an area with a lot of options when the weather is nice. When winter comes, it limits the options of what is there to do in their free time. We expect to be busy," she said. 

Moreover, she explained that while Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons typically mean fewer visitors at casinos, they are already planning for New Year's. "We get really busy between Christmas and New Year’s. We are really excited as we plan a really fun evening for New Year’s Eve. Lots of things are in the works so we’ll invite our guests to spend New Year’s Eve with us and ring in 2023," she said.

Render of the Hard Rock Bristol

Previously released financial information shows the Bristol Casino generated $40.3 million in adjusted gross revenue through September, with $7.2 million going to the state in taxes with $2.4 million to be split among the localities of Southwest Virginia.

The Bristol Casino also provided more than $22,900 to four local charitable causes during the period. Team members raised more than $12,800 for Habitat for Humanity, provided $6,400 in sponsorship and donations to the 911 Stair Climb Memorial, over $2,700 to the local VFW, and $1,000 to the Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk. Furthermore, the casino plans to partner with the Feeding Southwest Virginia food bank and Salvation Army in November.

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