West Virginia Gaming News

Hard Rock Announced as Operator of Bristol Casino

Florida-based casino and hospitality company Hard Rock International has been selected as the operator of a proposed casino in the Virginia city of Bristol, the partners behind the project announced Friday.

News about Hard Rock agreeing to manage the gaming facility come as Virginia is in the process of authorizing casino gambling on its territory.

The plan for the development of a casino in Bristol first emerged in the summer of 2018. The gambling venue is set to be located at the former Bristol Mall.

Jim McGlothlin, a partner in the development scheme, said Friday that the agreement with Hard Rock followed months of discussions with the operator as well as with investors involved in the project.

Announcing that it would be the Florida-based company that would be running the city’s future casino, Mr. McGlothlin said that they are excited to team up with a “well-respected and legendary entertainment brand with legions of devoted customers across the country and around the world.”

He added that Hard Rock’s iconic brand “speaks to its deep roots in live music entertainment and world-class memorabilia collection, which will play a prominent role at Hard Rock Casino Bristol” and will “complement our region’s country music heritage.”

Hard Rock to Make Announcement Monday

Hard Rock is expected to announce its participation in the Bristol casino project this coming Monday, November 25. As mentioned above, its first property in Virginia will operate as Hard Rock Casino Bristol.

City Manager Randall Eads said Friday that he “cannot think of a better place for Hard Rock Casino to be than here in Bristol, Virginia.” The city’s top official went on that the Hard Rock brand is synonymous with music and “with our storied history of music here in Bristol, to have a partner aligned with the music industry like Hard Rock is, I cannot think of a more exciting time to be in the city of Bristol.”

According to a 2018 study on the expected economic impact of the casino, the Bristol facility will create 2,000 jobs during its first year of operation and 5,200 jobs in its first seven years. The study, conducted by Virginia research firm Chmura, also projected that the gaming venue would attract four million visitors a year and would generate $1 billion in an annual economic impact.

In addition to a casino floor, plans for the property also include a hotel, a music venue, a meeting and convention center, dining outlets, and retail space.

Mr. McGlothlin, one of the partners who announced the project in August 2018, said Friday that after vetting multiple gaming industry leaders, “we are convinced that Hard Rock is the best fit for our project and our community” as the company understands “the significant economic development impact” the casino will have on Bristol and the surrounding region in terms of jobs and tax revenue.

Virginia lawmakers passed a legislation that paved the way for the development of the state’s first casinos this past February. However, instead of clearing the path for the construction of the gambling venues outright, the legislation mandated that a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission conduct a study of the best regulatory practices and the impact of gambling on Virginia residents.

The report is expected to be presented to legislators next week. Once that happens, the Virginia Lottery Board will have between January 1 and June 30, 2020 to craft the regulations under which the state’s casinos will operate.

Earlier this week, state Rep. Barry Knight pre-filed a bill that would allow for the Virginia Legislature to finally enact the provisions of the legislative piece that was approved in February. Rep. Knight’s piece is to be reviewed by fellow lawmakers in Richmond during next year’s legislative session.

Source:Hard Rock agrees to operate proposed Bristol resort, casino, The Bristol Herald Courier

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