By Dave Ongie
The impact of the temporary Casino Bristol is already being felt in our region, and hopes are high that the permanent Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – which is scheduled to open in 2024 – will make an even bigger positive impact that will benefit our region for years to come.
Representatives from Hard Rock International were joined by elected officials and leaders from Bristol on Wednesday afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of construction on the permanent hotel and casino. The hotel will have 300 rooms, and amenities will include a spa, a gym and an indoor/outdoor pool area. New dining and entertainment options will highlight the permanent casino, which will provide a major uptick in the gaming department.
“From the very start, this property’s economic and community impact has surpassed expectations, and we are thrilled to unveil what’s coming next,” said Jon Lucas, COO of Hard Rock International. “We are especially grateful to our local partners, Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy, whose vision has made all this possible. Building on our momentum, and with the incredible support from the Virginia Lottery and the Bristol community, we are ready to begin the next chapter.”
During Wednesday’s event, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol Allie Evangelista noted that the temporary casino had already generated $12 million in gaming tax revenue for the state of Virginia with $4 million of that staying in Bristol and the other communities in Southwest Virginia that receive a share those funds. She added that more than 600,000 people have visited the temporary casino.
In terms of workforce development, Evangelista said the temporary casino has been like “starting from scratch” as hundreds of workers have received their first experience in the gaming industry, which is new to our area. “We’re learning together as a family,” she said, adding that many employees are already discovering opportunities for career advancement at the Bristol Casino.
With construction commencing on the permanent hotel and casino, 900 to 1,000 construction-specific jobs will be created as TN Ward and BurWil Construction start work on the massive 300,000-square-foot facility. When the permanent location opens in 2024, it will create 1,200 full-time and part-time jobs.