Gamblers in Virginia’s first full-fledged casino have inadvertently revealed their overwhelming preference for slot machines over any other casino game, just one week into the gaming hall’s grand opening.

Players at the Hard Rock Bristol Casino – Virginia’s top-rated casino complex situated on the state border with Tennessee – wasted little time getting to know the slot machines in the first seven days of operation.

According to the Bristol Herald-Courier, bettors spent $37.5m on wagers at the casino through July 14. They won back $33.7m. And the vast majority of bets were placed on one-arm bandits.

Indeed, it is claimed as much as 90% of the casino’s revenue from its first week in operation came from its 900 slot machines. Slots are usually a go-to game for casino enthusiasts but this remarkable figure shows just how popular the machines are with locals.

The machines generated $34.57m in just seven days, and paid out winnings totalling $31.22m.

Meanwhile, just $2.93m was wagered on table games, of which patrons won back $2.54m.

hard rock bristol casino virginia
Hard Rock’s full-fledged casino will eventually expand under plans to grow the site by 2024

Virginia Casino Not Yet Complete

A licence for the Virginia casino in Bristol came through in April, when the Hard Rock Hotel won acceptance from the Virginia Lottery Board to build a gaming hall.

Its takings in the first week have generated $673,000 in taxes for the state, but the company isn’t done here.

The current casino is only a temporary gaming center – dubbed the “Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock” – and will eventually be expanded when Hard Rock builds its flagship facility in 2024.

Right now the casino site employs around 600 people and includes 30,000 square feet of casino space, 900 slots, 22 table games, two bars, two restaurants, a sportsbook and Rock Shop retail site.

In two years time the company hopes to have a resort complex that features:

  • 1,500 slots
  • 55 table games
  • 300-room hotel (to be expanded to 750 rooms)
  • Five restaurants
  • Four bars and lounges
  • A sportsbook
  • Hard Rock Live
  • 2,300-capacity indoor venue

Gina Smith, Virginia lottery’s deputy executive director of gaming compliance, said: “I want to say that being able to be part of this and open this in the commonwealth was truly a highlight of my career.

“I have been asked why, and it’s because of the gaming compliance team … I have never worked with a better team. To the people who lived for three months in Bristol and worked nights, weekends and holidays and were on call whenever I needed them – to the people who stayed here to license everybody. If it wasn’t for them, this casino would have never been opened.”

Smith also confirmed that there is regular contact between her office and Virginia’s three other voter-approved casino projects. These are:

  • Rivers Casino Portsmouth – Construction has begun, expected early 2023 opening date
  • Norfolk casino project – Temporary facility operated by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe expected to open in 2023
  • Caesars Danville – Not expected to open until 2024

Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

Back To Top
Back To Top