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Hard Rock Hotel Casino Bristol Amends Opening Timeline, Budget Balloons

Developed by Hard Rock International, the gaming and hospitality brand owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, in conjunction with local businessmen Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacey, the Bristol resort was projected to cost $300 million when it was announced in 2019.

The budget increased to $400 million when ground was broken at the former Bristol Mall construction site in December 2022.

Now, the developers say the expected final cost to build the 300-room resort and casino will likely be around $550 million. The skyrocketing budget, officials with the consortium said recently, is due to elevated construction materials and labor costs.

Image: Construction continues at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol. The budget for the Virginia casino resort has ballooned to more than a half-billion dollars. (Image: Hard Rock International)

Though the project has become much more costly than originally expected, construction has progressed nicely. The development team says the permanent casino remains on track to open this summer, with July targeted.

Resort Opening

Hard Rock Bristol opened a temporary casino inside a former department store in July 2022. The facility has about 900 slots, 30 table games, and a sportsbook.

The permanent casino will expand the gaming offering to about 1,500 slots, 75 table games, and a larger Hard Rock Bet Sportsbook.

We have our hotel tower up. Rooms are being completed. We’ll have 300 rooms by the end of the year, but we’re on target to open the casino floor by July of this year,” Hard Rock Bristol President Allie Evangelista told News Channel 11.

Evangelista said the hotel furniture and carpet must still arrive and be installed. The resort’s restaurants also still need to be incorporated.

When the resort fully opens, Hard Rock officials say the property will employ 1,300 workers.

By the end of the year, we will have 1,300 team members, so I’m looking for 700 excited people to join the band,” said Hard Rock Bristol HR Vice President Marina Alvidrez. “We want to make sure that we are providing a community-changing life for people who decide to start their careers here.”

Along with 300 guestrooms and the casino, the resort will feature several restaurants, including a Hard Rock Café, Council Oak Steakhouse, and a to-be-determined Asian-themed eatery. A Hard Rock Shop with retail goods and apparel will also open by 2025.

The complex will additionally feature two live music venues, an indoor 3,200-seat facility called Hard Rock Live and a larger outdoor amphitheater with seating for 20K.

Targeting Tennessee

There are two Bristol cities, as the city straddles the Virginia-Tennessee border.

Hard Rock is betting on attracting a significant portion of its customer base to its Bristol casino from Tennessee, a state without commercial or tribal casinos. The Hard Rock Bristol temporary casino parking lot is often filled with cars sporting Tennessee license plates.

The casino experienced its best month ever in December, with gross gaming revenue of nearly $15 million. Full-year 2023 gaming win for the casino totaled $159.9 million, or a monthly average of about $13.3 million.

Source: Casino.org 

Preview Image: Hard Rock International