Tennessee Gamblers: Hard Rock Bristol Casino Launches July 2022

Posted on April 21, 2022

For many Tennessee residents, the thought of legal casino gambling is just a fantasy. But, the dream is finally coming true for our northeastern neighbors.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is scheduled to open its doors in Bristol, Virginia on Friday, July 8.

Tennessee gamblers gain Hard Rock Bristol

Bristol, located some 115 miles northeast of Knoxville, TN is a city that straddles two separate states. State Street in downtown Bristol serves as the official line — one side falls in Tennessee, while the other side is Virginia territory.

The future Hard Rock is conveniently located just inside that Virginia border, easily accessible to residents traveling from every direction. For those coming up from Tennessee on I-81, it’s the first exit immediately as you cross into the state.

Thanks to some extensive effort, this one-time pipe dream has now turned into a full-fledged project. The decision of whether to permit Hard Rock as Virginia’s first full-service brick-and-mortar casino was ultimately left up to voters, who overwhelmingly opted to carry the project forward.

Hard Rock International looks to launch the temporary site this summer in an effort eager patrons over until construction is complete. As of now, the permanent venue remains on schedule to launch either in 2023 or 2024.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino features

For this casino project, Hard Rock took the former location of the Bristol Mall, and reimagined it as a soon-to-be 500,000-square-foot mecca for gaming. The casino will feature 2,700 slot machines and 100 table games. Meanwhile, the site’s two hotel towers will house a variety of restaurants, bars, retail shops and a convention space.

And of course, no self-respecting Tennessee entertainment location is complete without an outdoor concert venue built to hold 20,000 patrons.

In all, the project is set to cost roughly $300 million.

New casino brings thousands of new jobs

This new casino doesn’t mean all wagers an no wins, though. The project promises to create a substantial new workforce within the Bristol community. The temporary casino alone will generate upwards of 600 new jobs.

This will ultimately turn into thousands of new jobs once the permanent venue opens. Similarly, the project will create millions in revenue for the area and attract more than four million annual tourists.

Add Hard Rock Bristol To Your Next Smoky Mountain Vacation

Hard Rock Casino Bristol

Millions of visitors already flock to the Tri-Cities each year to experience the Smoky Mountains and the area’s countless other attractions.

For instance, the iconic Bristol Motor Speedway, one of NASCAR’s premier tracks, is on the Tennessee side of the Bristol border. Hard Rock had the opportunity to introduce its future casino to thousands of race-goers this past Easter Sunday. A few of those lucky race fans even walked away winners of substantial giveaway packages.

Those that didn’t get lucky at the race will have plenty of additional opportunities to win big once the casino opens this July. Visitors will soon have Hard Rock Bristol to add to their to-do list when planning their next Smoky Mountain getaway.

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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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