Hard Rock Breaking Ground on $400 Million Virginia Casino

Written By J.R. Duren on December 6, 2022
jobs hard rock bristol construction hospitality

Bristol, Virginia, is hailed as the home of country music. It is also the home of the state’s music-branded casino, a 30,000-square-foot temporary facility that will become the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol.

On Dec. 7, developers will break ground on the site’s $400 million facility according to Virginia Business. The festivities will include Hard Rock’s signature guitar smash, a tradition that’s part of every Hard Rock groundbreaking ceremony.

The casino opening is a joint effort between local developers, Hard Rock International, and the Virginia Lottery. The project’s developers believe the casino will provide economic benefits to the Tri-City area, which includes, Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport:

“These benefits extend across Southwest Virginia as communities receive additional tax revenue from the project. Local businesses in the Tri-Cities will see an economic development boost from increased tourism visitation and spending.  All of this would not have been possible without the strong support from local residents and leaders, for which we remain incredibly grateful.”

Hard Rock Bristol history

The Bristol casino is the culmination of several factors. First, Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy, the developers who are building the property, lobbied state officials to get the Virginia Lottery to allow Virginia casino gambling.

Their efforts paid off this past March when legal casino gaming went into effect. The regulation allowed casinos in five cities, provided those cities voted to approve a new casino. Four cities approved the measures, Bristol included.

Around four months later, Hard Rock opened a temporary casino in the Bristol Mall. Though temporary, the facility is a full-service casino. It offers 870 slots, 21 table games, and a sportsbook.

In October, the casino generated more than $14 million in gaming revenue, a solid number on par with permanent casinos in other states.

Permanent Hard Rock Bristol casino will have all the brand’s nuances

The new casino will provide more than 1,000 jobs in the area. It will include a pair of hotel towers that will provide more than 700 rooms.

Officials believe the project will bring four million visitors to the area each year. The property’s two hotel towers will soar over a resort-style pool area.

Renderings of the casino reveal a turnaround area in front of the gaming floor that includes the hotel’s signature guitar sculpture.

What’s happening with Virginia casinos in 2023?

This upcoming year will prove to be a big one for Virginia casinos. Four cities are in the process of bringing casinos to their communities: Bristol, Portsmouth, Danville, and Norfolk.

Bristol Hard Rock’s permanent property is slated to open in 2024.

Porstmouth’s casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, is on track for a January 15 grand opening. While Bristol was the first city in the state to have a temporary casino, Portsmouth will be the first city in the state with a permanent casino.

Danville’s Caesars Virginia will open as a temporary casino in mid-2023.

The state’s fourth casino, HeadWaters Resort & Casino, is a $500 million project that is scheduled to open in 2024. It will feature 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games, and a 300-room hotel.

Photo by Playin USA
J.R. Duren Avatar
Written by
J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by J.R. Duren