Hard Rock Bristol Delays Opening So All Amenities Available

Written By Phil West on July 2, 2024
Delayed sign signifies Hard Rock Bristol's delayed opening.

It will take a little longer to open the permanent Hard Rock Bristol, but according to the person overseeing the complex, it will be worth it.

Allie Evangelista, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, told Virginia Business last week the company wants visitors’ first impressions to be memorable.

To accomplish that, the opening of the $550 million resort will be pushed to late fall, when all the complex’s amenities will be available to visitors.

Bristol casino generated over $15M revenue in May

Hard Rock opened up a temporary 30,000-square-foot casino in the former Bristol Mall in July 2022. It broke ground on the permanent site five months later. The resort’s hotel tower, featuring 300 rooms, a conference area, and at least three restaurants, is already up at the complex.

The Bristol casino is typically third in revenue generation out of the three casinos currently operating in the state. Lawmakers have not legalized Virginia online casinos, however, sweepstakes and social casinos are legal to play in the commonwealth.

In May, Hard Rock generated north of $15 million in revenue, as part of a month in which the trio of casinos delivered more than $60 million in combined revenue for the third straight month. They paid nearly $11.3 million in tax revenue in May.

Full resort’s amenities will be available sooner

Evangelista said her and her team – which included Hard Rock, Par Ventures President Clyde Stacy and The United Co. Chairman Jim McGlothlin – made the decision to delay the opening so that the entire casino complex is open from the beginning.

“I think sometimes people forget [Hard Rock is] not just a casino company. And that’s why we’re not so focused on rushing into opening a casino floor, because we really want people to see us for who we are as an entertainment and hospitality business. As a business, for us, this is a lot more exciting because we were opening a casino floor rather than opening the full Hard Rock experience, and being able to open everything at once … allows us to really have a great first impression.”

She said pushing the date back and opening everything at once, rather than in phases, will improve the overall guest experience and could speed up the process.

“We believe the construction is redoing their timeline because you don’t have to [put up] temporary wall things, [and] you don’t have to go around operations, so we believe we can pick up some time.”

That lines up with the official Hard Rock announcement of the delay in June. At the time, a statement from the company said, “the partnership team prefers to have a grand opening with a fully operational casino and amenities for an overall better guest experience.”

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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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