Bristol City Leaders Pass Resolution Asking for Hard Rock Casino Referendum

The City Council of the Virginia City of Bristol on Tuesday night approved a resolution that would ask the Circuit Court for a referendum allowing a Hard Rock casino in the city.

News about last night’s passage of the resolution emerge a week after the Virginia Lottery Board granted the city approval to proceed with the local casino referendum.

RELATED: Virginia Lottery Board OKs Hard Rock’s Bristol Casino Plan

Bristol announced earlier this year that it has selected Florida-based gaming and hospitality giant Hard Rock International as the preferred developer of a hotel and casino complex at the site of the former Bristol Mall.

The resolution passed by city leaders last night directs “the filing of a petition for writ of election to hold a referendum on casino gaming at 500 Gate City Highway, Bristol, Virginia.”

A gambling reform passed by Virginia lawmakers this past spring gave the green light for the development of full-scale casinos in five cities around the state, Bristol included. However, casinos can open only if city voters approve them in a citywide referendum.

If the Circuit Court approves the resolution, the Bristol casino referendum would be held on November 3, 2020.

According to the resolution, city voters would be asked to vote yes or no to the following question:

“Shall casino gaming be permitted at a casino gaming establishment in the City of Bristol, Virginia at 500 Gate City Highway, Bristol, Virginia 24201 (former Bristol Mall) as may be approved by the Virginia Lottery Board?”

More Welcome News for Hard Rock

Last night’s approval of the casino resolution came as more welcome news for Hard Rock’s Bristol expansion plans.

In a statement to local news outlets, the company’s Bristol team thanked the City Council and said that they are now looking forward to city voters “having the opportunity this fall to approve bringing the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol for our community.”

The statement said further that with the passage of the resolution, “City Leaders are sending a strong message that they are committed to a bright economic future that includes “more tax revenue to fuel significant funding increases for our local needs”, “more money for schools teachers, and first responders” as well as “more good paying jobs to help lower our unemployment rate and put more money back into the Bristol economy.”

If approved by city voters, Hard Rock’s Bristol property will feature a casino with up to 2,700 slot machines, 100 table games, and a sports betting facility, a hotel with up to 750 rooms and suites, seven dining outlets, four bars, 30,000 square feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of meeting and convention facilities, a 3,200-seat indoor entertainment venue, and an outdoor entertainment venue with capacity for 20,000 people.

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