Hard Rock Bristol Revenue Declines Continue, Casino Wins Just $12M

Posted on: December 18, 2023, 10:17h. 

Last updated on: January 2, 2024, 01:02h.

Hard Rock Bristol in Virginia, a temporary casino inside the former Bristol Mall, continues to see gaming activity dwindle.

Hard Rock Bristol Virginia gaming revenue
An aerial view of construction on the $500 million Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Virginia. The resort’s temporary Hard Rock Bristol casino won just $12 million from players in November 2023. (Image: Bristol Herald Courier)

The latest revenue report from the Virginia Lottery, which has regulatory oversight of the state’s emerging commercial casino industry, shows that Hard Rock won just $12 million in November. That represents a 4.4% year-over-year decline, marking the casino’s lowest monthly win in its 17-month operating history.

For Hard Rock, November marked the third consecutive month of gross gaming revenue (GGR) declines. The casino won about $37.5 million between September and November, almost 9% below the same three-month period in 2022.

Hard Rock’s Bristol casino offers 908 slots and 29 table games. Slots accounted for $10.1 million of the November win, with tables accounting for the remaining $1.9 million.

During its first 12 months in business, Hard Rock Bristol averaged about $13.7 million in monthly GGR. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Virginia is a $500 million undertaking resulting in a new casino resort hotel at the Bristol Mall complex.

In July 2022, Hard Rock became the first legal casino to open in Virginia history. Two other casinos have since opened — the permanent Rivers Casino Portsmouth property in late January 2023 and another temporary gaming facility, the Danville Casino, in May. Caesars Entertainment is behind the Danville venue, where it’s building a $650 million permanent resort to be called Caesars Virginia.

Rivers Turnaround

Rush Street Gaming opted to forgo a temporary casino in favor of pressing ahead full steam with constructing its permanent Rivers Casino Portsmouth property. The casino is considerably larger than Hard Rock and the Danville Casino, the latter of which has 830 slots and 33 table games.

Rivers Portsmouth won nearly $21.6 million in November on its 1,416 slots and 81 table games. November marked a turnaround for Rivers, as GGR for the Hampton Roads facility totaled approximately $20 million in September and October.

The Danville Casino won $17.5 million last month, representing an increase from October’s $16.8 million, but lower than the $19.1 million GGR generated in September.

Total GGR from the three casinos in November was about $51.2 million. That’s a 3.3% month-to-month gain.

November gaming taxes totaled nearly $10.3 million. Virginia imposes a graduated tax on gaming revenue, but the host cities collect 6% of the gross proceeds. In November, Bristol received about $725,800, Portsmouth collected over $1.5 million, and Danville saw a little more than $1 million.

Economic Powerplants

Through legislation passed in 2020, Virginia lawmakers authorized Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, and Bristol casinos. The gaming expansion was designed to provide those cities with an economic spark, all of which met certain economic hardships defined in the casino statute.

A gaming study performed in 2020 by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission (JLARC) forecast that a five-casino market upon maturity would generate $260 million annually in state gaming taxes and have a “modest economic impact on local economies.”

All but Richmond subsequently passed local referendums approving a casino. Richmonders twice rejected gaming project proposals.

Norfolk officials continue to work with their approved gaming developer, a partnership between the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and billionaire tribal gaming veteran Jon Yarbrough.