Earlier this year, lawmakers in Virginia officially approved a plan to expand the state’s gambling industry. Almost immediately afterward, many of the top US casino companies began pushing to open a casino here. News has just come out that Hard Rock International may soon operate a casino in Bristol, VA.
Virginia could establish a strong casino market on the East Coast. Having Hard Rock running casinos here is a great first step. Here’s what we know about these plans.
Virginia Allows More Casinos to Open Up
Virginia isn’t necessarily thought of as a gambling-friendly state. It’s unfortunate, as many lawmakers have continued to push for the legalization of casinos here. The first real attempts came in 1995 when state officials began pushing to open riverboat casinos.
These efforts were all unsuccessful. Another push to open these gambling venues came in 2013. Once again, no bills managed to make it onto the casino floor. Officials tried to convince state politicians that Virginians are gambling in Maryland, which is benefiting the most through taxes.
Finally, things took a turn. In March, legislators in Virginia approved a bill to allow commercial casinos in the state. Several cities are now lobbying to gain approval to open a casino.
Bristol is one city that’s ready to welcome a gambling venue. Randy Eads, city manager of Bristol, commented on the idea of opening a casino to the media this week.
“I cannot think of a better place for Hard Rock Casino to be than here in Bristol, Virginia,” Eads said. “Hard Rock is synonymous with music. With our storied history of music here in Bristol, to have a new partner aligned with the music industry like Hard Rock is, I cannot think of a more exciting time to be in the city of Bristol.”
Hard Rock is Open to Running a Casino in Bristol, VA
Hard Rock International is one of the fastest-growing casino companies in the US. The Seminole Tribe-owned company now has casinos in many states including Nevada, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, among others. It seems that Hard Rock is now open to running the proposed casino in Bristol, VA.
Proponents of this casino recently met with officials at Hard Rock International. According to reports, this meeting was successful.
“Hard Rock’s iconic brand speaks to its deep roots in live music entertainment and world-class memorabilia collection, which will play a prominent role at Hard Rock Casino Bristol. This focus on music will complement our region’s country music heritage and dynamic music scene in the Twin City,” said Jim McGlothlin, CEO of The United Company and a co-partner on the Bristol resort and casino development.
At the same time, Hard Rock is investing $300 million into a new land-based casino in Gary, Indiana. The company is also preparing to open a gambling venue in Rockford, Illinois.
The casino in Bristol, VA, has not been officially approved. It seems likely that state officials will give it the green light within the next few months. It’s an exciting time for gambling fans in this state.
Virginia Isn’t Quite Ready to Legalize Sports Betting
Lawmakers in Virginia are just beginning to embrace the gambling industry. Unfortunately, they don’t seem ready to start regulating sports betting. A bill was presented here that would legalize this form of wagering, yet it hasn’t made much progress in the state legislature.
This is frustrating for many individuals who believe the state would benefit massively from the legalization of this industry. Today, 20 states have officially legalized sports gambling. Most of them are earning millions of dollars every month by taxing this industry.
There’s a chance that sports betting in Virginia could be legalized in 2020, though. House Bill 4 is currently being reviewed by state lawmakers. Specific details of this bill are being withheld.
In order for it to be legalized, cities would need to officially approve this bill. Voters will also need to approve the legalization of sports betting on the 2020 ballot.
Stay tuned for more news on the casino in Bristol, VA over the next few months!