Hard Rock is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The vote was a formality after Bristol residents overwhelmingly approved Hard Rock to operate a casino in the southwestern Virginia city. Bristol, which straddles the border of Virginia and Tennessee, is small in population but the region attracts scores of visitors for its annual NASCAR race.
Earlier this year Virginia lawmakers approved the development of five casinos across the state. However, gaming licenses likely won’t be granted until spring 2022 according to Virginia Lottery Director Kevin Hill.
Hall told the Virginia House Appropriations Committee last month, “We think it is highly unlikely that even an operator seeking a temporary permit would actually be operating casino gaming until April 2022 at the earliest.”
Bristol developers are planning to build the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at a former Sears inside the Bristol Mall.
The location is right off the Gate City Highway and approximately nine miles north of Bristol Motor Speedway, which is located on the Tennessee side of town.
Bristol leaders hope the casino will rejuvenate the local economy, where wages are lower and unemployment is higher than the rest of Virginia.