Virginia Lottery Board OKs Hard Rock’s Bristol Casino Plan
Casino and hospitality company Hard Rock International and two local partners have been pre-certified by the Virginia Lottery Board to build and run a casino in the Virginia city of Bristol.
Earlier this year, Hard Rock was selected as the preferred operator of the city’s first casino. However, the future of the company’s plan to build a gambling complex in Bristol now lies with city voters.
RELATED: Hard Rock to Seek Approval for Temporary Bristol Casino
Hard Rock being pre-certified is the latest of series of hurdles the company needs to overcome in the next few months, if it wants to get a final green light to expand in Virginia. This latest approval paves the way for Bristol to conduct a citywide referendum on November 3 during which voters will be able to voice their opinion on whether the city should host a gambling venue.
Following the completion of the Virginia Lottery Board’s review of Hard Rock’s proposal, the Bristol City Council now needs to approve a resolution asking the Circuit Court to order a November casino referendum. Council members are expected to act on this this coming Tuesday.
The proposed development of a casino in Bristol is part of a larger gambling expansion effort approved by Virginia lawmakers earlier this year. Legislators passed a bill that authorized the construction of Las Vegas-style casinos with slot machines and table games in five cash-strapped cities to help them improve their economies.
Casino Project to Give Bristol “Critically Needed New Funding”
Commenting on the approval of their pre-certification application, Hard Rock’s Bristol team said in a statement that they appreciate the work of the Virginia Lottery Board and that they now look forward to the November referendum when voters will “have a historic opportunity to vote yes for the thousands of new, good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in additional tax revenue that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will bring to the city.”
The statement read further that Hard Rock’s project “will provide Bristol with critically needed new funding for our schools, teachers, and first responders, all while growing the economy both here in the city and all across the region.”
RELATED: Bristol City Leaders Select Hard Rock as Preferred Casino Op
Hard Rock’s plan includes a casino with up to 2,700 slot machines, 100 table games, and a sportsbook, a hotel with up to 750 rooms and suites, seven restaurants, four bars, 30,000 square feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of meeting and convention facilities, a 3,200-seat indoor entertainment venue, and an outdoor entertainment venue with capacity for 20,000 people.
Hard Rock said that its resort would be “a catalyst for the entire region” and that it will serve more than 4 million tourists a year that will be coming to Bristol to enjoy the city’s “outdoor beauty” and “visit the many wonderful entertainment, cultural, and recreational attractions across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.”
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