Hard Rock Breaks Ground On Casino In Bristol, Virginia


Hard Rock International celebrated the groundbreaking of its Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Bristol, Virginia, on Wednesday afternoon. The location is expected to open in the spring of 2024. Hard Rock Bristol is currently operating out of a temporary location. 

“This is an exciting day for Bristol,” Allie Evangelista, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, said in a press release. “Our temporary casino has been a tremendous success, and we already have welcomed guests from all 50 states. … 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.” 

It’s official! Ground has broken at the future site of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Bristol, VA. @WJHL11 pic.twitter.com/leLusHdZcf

— John Jenco (@JohnJencoTV) December 7, 2022

Once completed, the permanent casino location will be roughly 300,000 square feet with 1,300 slots, 50 table games, a sportsbook, and multiple food and drink options. Among the dining options is a Hard Rock Cafe. 

“From the very start, this property’s economic and community impact has surpassed expectations, and we are thrilled to unveil what’s coming next. … 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,” Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International, said in a press release.

Petersburg-Richmond 2023 debates

The casino in Bristol is one of five possible casino locations designated by state legislation. The others are Danville, Norfolk, Richmond, and Portsmouth. 

There’s disagreement, however, about whether Richmond should open a casino. Richmond residents voted down a casino referendum in 2021, and Richmond was blocked from holding the same referendum in 2022. 

This fall, Petersburg officials continued their recent push for a casino to be built in Petersburg, rather than Richmond. Recent reporting from the Richmond Times-Dispatch suggests there’s even a possibility that both Petersburg and Richmond could have casinos. The report suggests Richmond stakeholders could be more supportive of that idea, while state Sen. Joe Morrissey is among those who wants only Petersburg to be given the opportunity to have a casino. 

“I’m going to fall on my sword on that one,” Morrissey told the RTD. “I am not interested in two casinos.”

Expect the Richmond-Petersburg casino debates to intensify in 2023. 

Other Virginia casino updates

Elsewhere, Rivers Casino in Portsmouth expects to open on Jan. 15, 2023. HeadWaters Casino in Norfolk hopes to open a temporary location in March, with a permanent location coming in 2024. Caesars Virginia in Danville has similar plans, expecting a temporary location to open in 2023 and a permanent casino to come toward the end of 2024. 

By the end of 2024, four casinos in Virginia could be open at their permanent locations. Perhaps by then there will finally be clarity on where the state’s fifth casino will reside. 

Photo courtesy of Hard Rock

Author: Ryan Gonzales