Bristol gets casino approval for former shopping center | Business

The games will take place this summer in Virginia’s first casino to be built in a redeveloped shopping mall in Bristol.

The Virginia Lottery Board on Thursday approved the state’s first casino license for Hard Rock Bristol.

The unanimous vote followed what lottery officials called a “full review of application materials and extensive background investigation.”

“Since its enactment by the 2020 General Assembly, the Commonwealth Casino Gaming Council’s priority has been that it be conducted with integrity and in a responsible manner,” Council Chairman Ferhan Hamid said in a statement. communicated. “Today’s approval reflects the confidence we have in the rigorous and conscientious review performed by Virginia Lottery staff.”

“The Virginia Lottery has worked diligently for two years to build the proper regulatory structure for casino gaming,” said Kelly T. Gee, Acting Executive Director. “There are still many stages to go until the finish line, but there is no doubt that it is an exciting time.”

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The board also voted to change its bylaws to include casinos in the voluntary exclusion program operated by the Virginia Lottery.

The self-exclusion program allows people with gambling problems to put themselves on a list maintained by the state to prohibit themselves from gambling at state-approved games and venues.

The ban would be in place at venues regulated by the Virginia Lottery, the Virginia Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs and the Virginia Racing Commission.

The ban includes account-based Virginia Lottery games; online sports betting; charity games such as raffle, bingo, network bingo and instant bingo; horse racing, including live, off-track, historic horse racing and early deposit account betting.

The exclusion period is five years. Anyone caught gambling during this period will have their winnings forfeited and donated to the Commonwealth Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund. Losses are the responsibility of the individual.

Lottery officials said on Wednesday the department’s gaming compliance staff would be involved in the opening of the temporary facility in the former Bristol Mall in July.

“We will be on site at the casino over the next two months to observe the receipt of gaming equipment, review internal controls and ensure full compliance with regulations,” said Gina M. Smith of the Lottery.

Bristol is not the only area with chips in the gambling industry. Lottery officials are reviewing application documents for three other proposed casinos in Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Each was endorsed by local voters in the November 2020 elections.

Casino and sportsbook regulations, information and approvals can be viewed at www.vagamingregulations.com, a microsite providing key information and public transparency on expanded gaming issues.

Edwin S. Wolfe