Bristol’s Hard Rock Casino Enhances Gaming with Expansion into Former Mall

Hard Rock Bristol, dubbed Virginia’s “first casino,” has extended its interim gaming area within the former Bristol Mall to include more slot machines and blackjack tables with lower minimums.

Bristol was one of five cities granted the opportunity to consider authorizing a casino development through a local vote in 2020. During the presidential election that year, Bristol voters gave the green light to Hard Rock International’s proposed resort development, with more than seventy percent of the population backing the casino.

Hard Rock recently started building its $400 million permanent resort near the Bristol Mall and, as per the 2020 Virginia gaming law, the company is allowed to operate a temporary gaming area while the construction is in progress.

Last July, the provisional casino was launched inside the old Belk department store. Hard Rock Bristol authorities announced recently that they have added around 30 new slot machines to the casino floor.

The building also has a “Party Pit” situated beside the casino’s bar and sports lounge, featuring four blackjack tables with $15 minimums. The minimums at the other tables are usually $25.

“We are delighted to offer our guests new slots and table games,” said Allie Evangelista, President of Hard Rock Bristol. “The casino now has 890 slots and 29 tables, as well as our sportsbook.”

Evangelista added that the new slot machines include Dragon Link terminals and machines from Japanese gaming manufacturer Sega Sammy, including titles like Resident Evil: Vendetta, Egyptian Magic, and Dragon Power.

Since its opening in July of 2022, Hard Rock Bristol has earned robust income, with the highest recorded figure being $14.9 million in December.

The casino is no longer the only legal one in Virginia, as Rivers Casino Portsmouth opened its doors on January 23rd. However, the casinos won’t be contending for the same customer base, as Rivers is more than 300 miles east of Bristol.

Hard Rock is aiming to open its permanent resort and casino in the summer of 2024. The $400 million undertaking will create a casino floor spanning 90,000 square feet with 2,700 slot machines and 100 table games, as well as an on-site sportsbook. The resort will also include two hotel towers with 300 guestrooms and suites, five restaurants, and four bars.

Fittingly, Hard Rock Bristol will feature a 3,200-seat concert space and an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 20,000 people. The company is expecting to hire up to 1,500 additional employees before the permanent resort opens, with the recruiting already in motion.