Allie Evangelista, a veteran casino gaming exeutive, will head the soon-to-open Hard Rock Casino and Resort Bristol in Virginia.
Hard Rock International made the announcement on Tuesday.
As Hard Rock Bristol president, Evangelista will be one of the highest-profile figures at Hard Rock Bristol.
And as a result, she also instantly becomes one of the biggest names in the burgeoning Virginia casino industry.
Allie Evangelista arrives from Maryland
Allie Evangelista began her gaming career in Missouri in 2006. More specifically, she started as assistant slot operations manager and quickly rose through the ranks.
After executive positions at casinos in Iowa and Ohio, Evangelista most recently worked in Maryland. There, she was the vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino Perryville.
Evangelista said she looks forward to focusing on the Bristol market. Bristol and its neighboring twin city – Bristol, Tennessee – provide ample opportunity.
As Evangelista stated in the announcement:
“I look forward to embracing the community in Bristol and working with the many partners who have been instrumental in supporting the project. As the ‘Birthplace of Country Music,’ Bristol is rich in history and culture. As someone with a passion for exploring new and diverse opportunities, I am excited to experience the region’s natural beauty and its many wonderful music, entertainment and recreational offerings. And as a destination-resort, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will be a perfect complement to the world-class events and attractions that draw millions of visitors to the Tri-Cities, including ones across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.”
Evangelista earned her MBA from Lindenwood University and a Master’s in Human Resources Management from Washington University.
She will report to Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International.
Evangelista’s first task: Temporary Hard Rock Bristol casino
In their announcement, Lucas said Evangelista “hit the ground running.”
She didn’t have much of a choice.
In 2020 voters passed a casino referendum in the cities of Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. However, the latter three are unlikely to begin opening their resorts until at least early 2023, if not later.
Bristol, though, is opening a temporary casino before the full resort opens in 2023 or 2024. The temporary Bristol casino is slated to open ” before the end of the second quarter of 2022,” according to officials.
Evangelista will oversee the scaled-down casino-resort at the former Bristol Mall site, which will include:
- 30,000 square feet of casino space,
- 900 gaming slots
- 20 tables
- Non-smoking and high limit gaming areas
- New restaurant
- Grab-and-go food outlet
- Sports bar and lounge with entertainment
- Smoking sports lounge
Hiring has already begun for Hard Rock Bristol. Officials will hire 600 employees for the temporary casino, with up to 1,400 more hired for the full resort.