Bristol, Va. City Council approves Hard Rock as preferred casino operator

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — The Bristol, Virginia City Council approved a resolution naming Hard Rock as the preferred operator of a proposed casino at the former Bristol Mall site.

The council unanimously approved the measure during a public hearing on the project Tuesday evening.

The city will now submit all required documentation to the state lottery board. That is expected to happen in the next 45 days. There will be a lottery board meeting on July 15.

The city will still have to hold a referendum legalizing casino-style gambling.

Richmond-based Alliance Group, the firm handling lobbying efforts on behalf of the project, issued this statement:

“We want to thank members of the Bristol, Virginia City Council for their strong support tonight of the Hard Rock Casino Bristol.  We also want to recognize City Manager Randy Eads, and his team, for their diligence during this process.  We plan to honor this trust and confidence by building a world-class destination resort. 

As we shared in our presentation tonight to City Council, Hard Rock is a premiere global entertainment brand.  Each location embodies the local charm and character of that community.  The Hard Rock Casino Bristol will honor the region’s heritage as ‘The Birth Place of Country Music.’  As an entertainment destination, we plan to offer restaurants and shops new to the region, large indoor and outdoor music venues and a convention center.

In tonight’s meeting, our elected officials and residents all echoed a similar theme – this project will be a game-changer for Bristol, with a tremendous boost to our local economy from thousands of new jobs and additional City tax revenue.  The resort will be a catalyst for the entire region, helping to create jobs at local businesses that will serve the four million tourists a year coming to Bristol to enjoy our outdoor beauty and visit the many wonderful entertainment, cultural and recreational attractions across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

The voters in Bristol, Virginia will have an opportunity to approve this project on the ballot in this year’s November 3, 2020, General Election.  Between today and November 3, we will work hard so that Bristol, Virginia voters are fully-informed on this project and understand the significant ways in which it will benefit our community.”

Alliance Group

News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais was at Tuesday night’s meeting. Follow her on social media for further updates.

This is a developing story. Look for updates on WJHL.com and the WJHL app.

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