Developers announce plans for $150 million casino in Bristol


    BRISTOL, Va. (WSET) -- Local businesses and community leaders announced major plans for a $150 million resort and casino at the Bristol Mall in Bristol Friday.

    Developers are hoping to bring a 90,000 square foot casino, along with 90,000 square feet dedicated to children's activities, and 25,000 square feet for sports betting.

    Leaders also plan to build a 600-1,000 room hotel on site.

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    Along with the casino and hotel, there are also plans for 50 stores and restaurants to be leased on the property.

    Developers said this is expected to bring thousand of jobs to the area -- and that the resort casino would employ 2,000 people during the first year of operations, but would grow to more than 5,200 in seven years.

    Virginia is one of seven states that doesn’t allow casino gambling, but Gov. Northam signed a bill allowing horse racing and off-track betting at four sites this year.

    A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision allows sports betting in all 50 states.

    Kentucky and Tennessee also don’t allow casino gambling, but North Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland do.

    The nearest casino would be in North Carolina, 130 miles away.

    If the state approves casino gambling in 2019, the Bristol Herald Courier reported that it would take about 18 months to complete the first phase of mall renovations and improvements, with an opening date in late 2020 or 2021.

    The second phase would include additional hotel rooms and the convention center slated to open in 2024.

    Dharma Pharmaceuticals has also applied to be one of the state's first five medical marijuana dispensaries that would open in the J.C. Penney in the mall.

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