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Bristol's temporary casinos will open in 2022 at the earliest

The development of emergency casino gaming laws in the Southwest Virginia city of Bristol in September was only the beginning of a lengthy regulatory process that could last until late spring 2020 to ensure proper oversight of gambling venues and their employees.

The first possible opening date is April

Preliminary schedule for the opening of a temporary casino in Bristol has been changed and the site is expected to go into operation at the earliest April 2022 , According to Kevin Hall, executive director of Virginia Lottery. The draft was approved by the Board of the Virginia Lottery at its quarterly meeting on July 15.

Hard Rock Bristol Hotel & Casino was supposed to host a temporary game point in part in the second half of next year Bristol Mallwhile the rest of the construction work will take place on a different part of the property.

However, during a Zoom meeting with the Allocation Committee in Virginia House of Delegates Hall expressed doubts as to whether any operator would be able to open a temporary casino due to the checks and procedures they had to follow first. Temporary exploitation is allowed by law, but applicants must first pass a background check and obtain a license.

Earlier this month, voters in Bristol and three other Virginia cities gave the go-ahead to gambling in that area through a local referendum. Casino-resort o worth $ 400 million will be located in Bristol Mall and will offer 350 hotel rooms, which can be increased to 700 . Other amenities include a casino, sports betting, conference center, live music venue, amphitheater, bars, restaurants, retail stores, spa, swimming pool and more. In addition to being open to the public, the temporary facility will serve as a training ground for casino employees.

Commenting on the approval of the referendum earlier this month, Bristol Mayor Bill Hartley said it was a great opportunity to have an internationally recognized company like Hard Rock, and this will benefit local tourism and the economy, and will also attract other businesses. The project has already received positive feedback from citizens earlier this year.

The regulatory process in a nutshell

The next regulatory steps following the approval of the referendum are the statutory deadline for the entry into force of the casino gambling emergency regulations and the start of the development of permanent casino regulations for April 7, 2021 After that, casino operators can start applying for licenses, which will be late. spring or early summer 2021. Candidates and key management personnel will be subjected to stringent criminal and financial audits, which could take up to a year to complete (from late spring to early summer 2022).

According to Hall, not only casinos must be licensed but also their providers, which adds extra time to the process.

“I would also mention that suppliers would also have to be verified and licensed by the agency. They are companies that supply slot machines - even companies that provide (to play) cards and dice. Every employee would also need to be checked before the temporary casino could be opened. "

Bristol Mayor Bill Hartley

In this case, the most likely opening date for the first temporary casinos will be from mid 2022 Down early 2023 .

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