One Year Later: Virginia’s First Casino Is a Thriving Economic Powerhouse

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By Amie Knowles

July 17, 2023

One year after Virginia’s first casino opened in Bristol, the impact is clear: economic growth through tax revenue, job creation, and local donations generated millions in the area.

Looking to turn a little into a lot? You might want to head to the far southwestern corner of the commonwealth. That’s where Virginia’s first casino opened last July—and so far, it’s been an economic powerhouse in the area.

Currently housed in the former Bristol shopping mall, a temporary Hard Rock casino opened in Bristol on July 8, 2022. Construction broke ground on the casino’s nearby permanent location in December. Since opening last summer, the temporary gaming center has produced $28 million in taxes, with nearly $10 million of that staying in the area

In addition, Bristol news station WJHL11 reports that Hard Rock has donated approximately $485,000 to nonprofit organizations, with $155,000 of those donations coming directly from the casino’s team members.

The 30,000-square-foot temporary casino site also brought hundreds of jobs to the area. It currently employs 600 people in the full-service gaming destination, which features nearly 900 gaming slots, more than 20 table games, a sportsbook, and multiple dining opportunities. 

While awaiting the completion of the on-site hotel, the Bristol Casino: Future Home of Hard Rock’s website features local lodging options for guests looking to stay in the area. The options include both chain and local accommodations. One of the local brands, The Bristol Hotel, offers special perks to the casino’s Unity rewards members, including a 10% off discount for the best available room rate and a discount for 20% off food and beverages.

Construction is ongoing on Hard Rock’s permanent location. Officials project that the casino and resort will open next summer. 

According to 500 Nations, the permanent location will feature: 

  • A 90,000-square-foot casino
  • 2,700 slot machines
  • 100 table games
  • 750 hotel rooms
  • A 50,000-square-foot convention center
  • A spa and fitness center
  • A 3,200-seat concert center
  • A 20,000 person outdoor entertainment center
  • Retail space
  • And a signature Hard Rock restaurant.
  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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