Hard Rock Bristol gets license to operate Virginia’s first casino

Source: Bristol Resort and Casino // WJHL
Source: Bristol Resort and Casino // WJHL(WYMT)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 3:24 PM EDT
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BRISTOL, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Lottery Board has issued a facility operator’s license to Hard Rock Bristol to operate Virginia’s first casino.

That came following a “comprehensive review of application materials and an extensive background investigation and a 7-0 vote,” according to the board.

“Since enacted by the 2020 General Assembly, the Board’s priority for casino gaming in the Commonwealth is that it be conducted with integrity and in a responsible manner,” said Board Chairman Ferhan Hamid. “Today’s approval reflects the confidence we have in the rigorous and conscientious review conducted by Virginia Lottery staff.”

“The Virginia Lottery has worked diligently for two years to build the appropriate regulatory structure for casino gaming,” added Acting Executive Director Kelly T. Gee. “I am proud of the tireless work by our Gaming Compliance Department and our legal counsel for conducting the necessary investigative work to assist the Board in its decision. There are still many steps to the finish line, but there is no doubt that this is an exciting time.”

The Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department reports it is working with Hard Rock Bristol as it prepares to open a temporary facility on the site of the former Bristol Mall in early July 2022.

“We will be on-site at the casino over the next couple of months observing the receipt of gaming equipment, reviewing internal controls, and ensuring full compliance with the regulations,” said Virginia Lottery Deputy Executive Director of Gaming Compliance Gina M. Smith.

The board also voted Wednesday to amend its regulations to include casinos in the Voluntary Exclusion Program operated by the Virginia Lottery.

The Lottery is still reviewing application materials for three more proposed casinos in Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. Each was approved by voters in November 2020.

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