Hard Rock Bristol Delays Opening of $550M Permanent Casino Resort in Virginia

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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will not open next month as planned.

Hard Rock Bristol is delaying its permanent casino resort opening from July to late 2024. The developers behind the integrated resort say opening the facility at once as opposed to in gradual phases will provide a better first impression. (Image: Hard Rock Bristol)

The developers behind the $550 million integrated resort in Virginia’s Bristol just north of the Tennessee border have amended their opening schedule. Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, confirmed this week that the plan is to open the entire resort and hotel at once later this year instead of opening the destination in phases.

A Hard Rock release said the grand opening now likely set for the fall or winter will provide “an overall better guest experience” with a “fully operational casino and amenities.”

Hard Rock has been operating a temporary casino in Bristol inside a former Belk department store adjacent to where the permanent resort is being built. The provisional gaming space with around 900 slot machines, 30 table games, and sports betting generated gross gaming revenue of nearly $160 million last year.

Along with its retail casino, Hard Rock in Virginia operates an online sportsbook called Hard Rock Bet.

Resort Setbacks

Legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020 authorized the local governments of five cities to mull a commercial casino endeavor to spur economic activity. The projects require the support of local voters through a ballot referendum.

The Bristol City Council selected Hard Rock International and presented its pitch for a casino resort at the former Bristol Mall grounds to voters during the November 2020 election. More than 71% of Bristol voters supported the Hard Rock development, which at the time was expected to cost around $300 million.

By the time construction began in late 2022, Hard Rock said the forecasted budget had ballooned to $400 million. With inflation continuing to keep materials and labor costs high, Hard Rock in February further elevated the budget to $550 million — 83% costlier than originally anticipated.

First Impressions Key 

Hard Rock International is building the Bristol casino in partnership with Virginia businessmen Clyde Stacey of Par Ventures LLC and Jim McGlothlin’s United Company. The consortium believes opening the permanent resort in stages would hamper guests’ overall first impressions of the destination.

The response to our temporary casino has been overwhelmingly positive, demonstrating the excitement for Hard Rock’s permanent presence in Bristol,” said Allie Evangelista, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol. “While we are eager to unveil the new resort, this extension allows us time to ensure the finished product exceeds the expectations of our guests and the community.”

The permanent casino will include 1,500 slots, 75 table games, and a larger Hard Rock Bet Sportsbook. The resort consists of 300 hotel rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, retail shopping, and two live music venues including an indoor 3,200-seat Hard Rock Live and an outdoor amphitheater with seating for 20,000.

Hard Rock Bristol will market heavily to residents in nearby Tennessee and North Carolina where commercial casinos remain prohibited. Bristol, which saddles the Virginia-North Carolina border, claims to be the “Birthplace of Country Music” for being where the first country music song was recorded.

The post Hard Rock Bristol Delays Opening of $550M Permanent Casino Resort in Virginia appeared first on Casino.org.



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