Hard Rock Bristol, a forthcoming casino resort being built at a cost of $300 million in the Virginia city, is calling on anyone interested in a career in the gaming industry.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol — the complex’s official name — is planning to open its temporary casino space inside the former Bristol Mall this July. The full resort, which includes reutilizing mall space and building an adjacent new 750-room hotel tower, is set to open in 2025.
As construction continues over the next three years, Hard Rock officials say they need 600 full- and part-time workers to operate the temporary gaming venue.
Hiring, hiring, hiring — that is what we are doing,” Allie Evangelista, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, told the local NBC affiliate WCYB5. “I’m super excited to share that we have hired almost 200 people at this time.”
The 30,000-square-foot temporary casino will feature approximately 900 slot machines, 20 table games, and a sportsbook. The casino is replacing a former Belk department store.
Numerous Jobs Available
Employment in the US’ two key gaming markets — Las Vegas and Atlantic City — remains suppressed compared with levels before the pandemic. Those in search of a new job and willing to relocate to southern Virginia have an abundance of opportunities in Bristol.
Hard Rock says it’s actively hiring across five key departments — hotel operations, gaming operations, food and beverage, guest services, and support services (finance, accounting, IT, human resources, etc.).
Hard Rock Bristol is a joint endeavor from the casino and hospitality unit controlled by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Virginia businessmen Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy. The two coal tycoons led the legislative effort to convince state lawmakers to lift the commonwealth’s longstanding prohibition on commercial casino gambling.
Virginia is one of many states that has ventured into legal commercial gaming over the past decade. Along with as many as five land-based casinos, Virginia lawmakers in recent years have legalized wagering on historical horse races (HHR), as well as sports betting.
Sports betting was legalized in early 2020, with then-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signing such legislation into law. Online sportsbooks went live in early 2021. Today, 11 online sportsbooks are operating lawfully in the state, a few notables being BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel, and the Caesars Sportsbook.
Virginia’s 2020 casino bill — also signed by Northam — allowed five economically struggling cities to ask residents whether they support using a single casino development to generate new jobs and tax revenue. Four of the cities, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Danville, plus Bristol, have each held successful local ballot votes approving a casino resort each. Richmond residents have so far opted to forgo the opportunity.
One of the qualifying criteria for a city to be allowed to consider a casino is that the town experienced an unemployment rate of at least 5% in 2018. By comparison, Virginia’s statewide unemployment that year was significantly lower at just 3%.
Hard Rock Bristol is proving that the casino bill will add jobs to the cities moving forward with a gaming destination. Hard Rock says hundreds of more workers will need to be hired for when the full resort opens in three years.
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