Go. Lottery Board awards first casino license

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A temporary casino in Bristol will open on July 8

Posted

April 27, 2022




by

Robyn Sidersky


The Virginia Lottery Board has issued its first license for a Virginia casino to Hard Rock Bristol, the board announced Wednesday.

While its permanent casino is still set to open in the former Bristol Mall in July 2024, Hard Rock International Inc. is preparing to open a temporary 30,000 square foot casino with 870 slot machines and 21 tables on the 8 July.

“Since its enactment by the 2020 General Assembly, the Board’s priority for casino gaming in the Commonwealth has been that it be conducted with integrity and in a responsible manner,” said the Chairman of the Board. , Ferhan Hamid, in a press release. “Today’s approval reflects the confidence we have in the rigorous and conscientious review performed by Virginia Lottery staff.”

The 90,000 square foot permanent facility will include a 3,200-seat performance hall and a 20,000-capacity outdoor entertainment venue.

Three other casinos are also being opened in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Danville. Richmond voters initially rejected a casino referendum in the November 2021 ballot, but may vote again in the future.

Developers of the $500 million HeadWaters Resort & Casino on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk are asking City Council for permission to build a temporary casino, which would operate in Harbor Park, home of Norfolk’s minor league baseball team . It would be in the space where there is currently a boxing center on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor and would be approximately 31,572 square feet. The Norfolk Planning Commission will consider the proposal at a public hearing on Thursday. A permanent casino is planned next door.

“The Virginia Lottery has worked diligently for two years to build the proper regulatory structure for casino gaming,” said Acting Executive Director Kelly T. Gee. “I am proud of the tireless work of our Gaming Compliance Department and Legal Counsel to carry out the necessary investigative work to assist the Board in its decision. There are still many steps to the finish line. , but there’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time.

Hard Rock has hired about 100 employees so far, with most expected to start within 30 to 45 days of the temporary casino opening, a spokesperson said in early April. In February, the casino named Allie Evangelista its president.

“We are delighted with the action of the Virginia Lottery Board today granting a license to open Virginia’s first casino in Bristol subject to the completion of exceptional operational activities,” said Jon Lucas, Director of the operation of Hard Rock International, in a press release. “We appreciate the assistance and diligence of the Virginia Lottery in working closely with our team over many months to achieve today’s milestone for Bristol, Southwest Virginia and the Commonwealth. .”

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