BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – On Thursday, Hard Rock International announced that construction plans for a temporary casino in Bristol, Va. are in the works.

Plans for the temporary “full-service” casino include 30,000 square feet of casino space, 900 gaming slots, and 20 tables that will host a variety of games, according to a release from Hard Rock International.

“We’ve introduced the Hard Rock experience to a number of cities this year, and our presence in Bristol, Virginia, is especially rewarding for the brand as the project is our first hotel & casino in the state,” said Chief Operating Officer of Hard Rock International Jon Lucas.

News Channel 11 reached out to the Virginia Lottery for comment on the project and Jennifer Mullen, Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations responded saying, “We are working closely with the Bristol casino group to review and issue the appropriate contractor permits and to ensure we have all the information we need to conduct the thorough investigations required before a gaming license can be issued. We anticipate the Lottery Board will be in a position to consider granting Virginia’s first casino gaming licenses in the spring of 2022.”

This space will house a main casino floor, as well as non-smoking areas and a high-limit gaming area.

In addition to gaming, guests will also be able to grab a bite to eat at a new restaurant, or a “grab and go” food outlet, or at a sports bar that includes a lounge with entertainment and a sports lounge that allows for smoking, according to the release.

Between the multitude of gaming offerings, amenities and services which include a sportsbook, as well as Virginia lottery offices and a retail store, the new temporary casino will create 600 new jobs in the Bristol, Virginia area.

According to Hard Rock’s website, some job openings for the new Bristol, Virginia location will include but will not be limited to:

  • Jobs in hotel operations such as front desk, housekeeping and valet postions
  • Jobs in food and beverage such as cocktail server, restaurant server and restuartant host postitons
  • Jobs in gaming operations such as table game, slot operations and cage cahsier psotions
  • Jobs in guest services such as players club represeantive, player development and VIP services psotions
  • Jobs in support services such as finance, accounting, human resources, I.T., marketing and security positons

The website also states that the recruitment process will be starting soon and that recruitment fairs and networking opportunities will be scheduled.

In addition, there will be opportunities available for vendors who are looking to get in on the action. Some vendors that Hard Rock is looking for include construction and maintenance, food and beverage, transportation and professional service vendors. A more in-depth list of vendor opportunities can be found by clicking here.

“The project will spur economic growth, additional tax revenue and create new jobs for the city and its surrounding areas. We look forward to welcoming Hard Rock fans in the new year,” added Lucas.

Bristol Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Rhinehart said businesses want to be a part of the casino project.

“We get calls weekly here for businesses who what to know more about the casino,” Rhinehart said. “There’s a ton of interest and desire for people to be associated with the casino.”

A Virginia Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission study found the permanent Bristol casino could generate $130 million in gaming revenue annually and another $35 million in annual gaming tax revenue.

The study also estimated permanent Virginia casinos opening four years after local approval. Voters approved the Bristol casino project via local referendum in November 2020.

Construction is set to begin soon at the Women’s Belk store in the old Bristol Mall and the temporary casino is expected to open before the end of the second quarter of 2022.

In November, a spokesperson for Hard Rock says that the organization submitted demolition and work plans for the site of the temporary casino at the former Bristol Mall.

More information on Hard Rock’s temporary casino in Bristol can be found by clicking here.