Groundbreaking Marks Next Phase At $500 Million Hard Rock Casino Bristol

Written By Russ Mitchell on December 9, 2022 - Last Updated on August 1, 2023
Hard Rock Casino Bristol Groundbreaking

First comes the ceremony, then comes more slot machines as representatives in Virginia broke ground at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol.

Casino President Allie Evangelista called Wednesday’s ceremony “an exciting day for Bristol.”

“Our temporary casino has been a tremendous success, and we already have welcomed guests from all 50 states,” she said. “Our amazing team members – with their friendly smiles and can-do attitudes – are the foundation of this success.”

“I cannot wait for the next step, when we open the permanent casino in 2024 and have even more entertainment, dining, and music amenities to offer our customers.”

Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas told David McGee of the Bristol Herald Courier that some construction details are changing.

Developers planned to keep the shell of the Sears building at the Bristol Mall site intact. Now, they’ll tear down both the Sears location and a JCPenney space to make room for the first of several Virginia casinos.

“Tearing down the Sears building would be cheaper than trying to retrofit the Sears building,” Lucas told the reporters on hand. “As we opened the temporary facility, we found pipes that had to be totally replaced and other challenges.”

Think spring 2024 for Hard Rock Casino Bristol plans

Look for about 300,000 square feet of gaming space at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol once it opens in the spring of 2024. Guests will find:

  • 1,300 slots
  • 50 table games
  • a sportsbook
  • multiple dining options, including
    • a signature Hard Rock Cafe
    • Council Oak Steaks and Seafood
    • Constant Grind
  • a Rock Shop
  • a Hard Rock Live entertainment venue
  • and authentic music memorabilia.

“From the very start, this property’s economic and community impact has surpassed expectations,” Lucas said.

“Building on our momentum. And, with the incredible support from the Virginia Lottery and the Bristol community, we are ready to begin the next chapter.”

The permanent casino will open at 500 Gate City Hwy. Hard Rock reps say they’ll need a crew of about 950 to complete the project.

Then, about 1,200 full- and part-time staff members will need to be on the payroll once it opens.

Temporary casino already pulling in millions

Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock opened July 8 at the Bristol Mall site. Monthly Virginia casino numbers have been steady, based on the most recent figures from the VA Lottery.

Bristol Casino’s three most recent months of revenue were:

  • August — $14,279,379
  • September — $14,305,177
  • October — $14,144,160

The temporary site features 870 slots, 21 table games and a sportsbook.

Food and drink offerings include Brick’d, a brick oven pizza parlor and Mr. Lucky’s a grab-and-go eatery. Guest can visit Bristol Bar, a sports bar and lounge with live entertainment as well.

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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell covered news and sports in Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most decorated community newspapers in the state. He joined PlayIA as a lead writer and managing editor in 2021. He anxious to explore the growing Virginia gaming industry.

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