The developers of Hard Rock Bristol Hotel & Casino shared that they still hope to open a temporary gambling facility in the city before April 2022.
Earlier in November, Kevin Hall, who heads the Virginia Lottery, told the Virginia House Appropriations Committee that he expected that the Lottery Board would be able to issue any gaming licenses in April 2022 at the earliest. According to Mr. Hall, that would be the earliest date when a temporary gambling facility could start operating in the city.
According to the executive director of the Virginia Lottery, it is highly unlikely for an operator looking for a temporary license to actually start operating casino gaming before April 2022 at the earliest.
So far in November, voters in citizen referendums in Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth and Norfolk approved casino gambling expansion. The Bristol group is aimed at redeveloping the Bristol Mall and has revealed that it was willing to hold a temporary license to offer gambling services in part of the mall. Previously, developers of the Bristol casino had shared they hoped to see the larger part of the Hard Rock Bristol Hotel & Casino project finalized and open by the end of 2021.
Casino Gambling Would Bring New Jobs and Fresh Money Flow to the City
The Bristol group released a statement saying that it was monitoring the Lottery’s gambling licensing process, including some public comments regarding a possible timeframe that had been recently made. The group further shared that it would be ready to open and start operating a temporary gaming facility much sooner than the April 2022 deadline.
According to the proponents of the temporary gambling venue, such an endeavor would have a positive impact on Bristol and the surrounding area because it would provide the region with some new jobs, not to mention that the gambling services are expected to help the city generate some extra revenue for the state and the city. The group further noted it looks forward to continuing its partnership with the Lottery in order to make sure it meets all the licensing requirements on time.
The timeline provided by Kevin Hall is based on the piece of legislation that made it possible for casino venues to start operation there. Under the provisions of the same piece of legislation, it is the Lottery Board that is entitled with the responsibility to oversee casino and sports betting services in the region.
Reportedly, lottery attorneys are currently working to develop regulations under which casino gambling in the state of Virginia will be carried out. The legislative and regulatory framework is expected to be finalized by April 2021. After that, the Lottery Board would be given one more year to complete the review of license applications filed. All parties that are involved in the process are required to undergo a thorough investigation into their financial and criminal background.
As Mr. Hall explained to the committee, the suitability probes of casino operators and their management personnel could take up to a year to be finalized, and there is a provision for this timetable in the statute. He further noted that the group expects the first casino operator license to be issued in the spring or summer of the calendar year 2022.