I love Bristol, almost as much as I love Roanoke! Your downtown with the [Birthplace of] Country Music Museum, State Street and the neighborhood near St. Anne are some of my favorite places in Virginia.

I’ve visited many times, promoting for 25 years an Amtrak extension to Roanoke and Bristol.

I find your quest to place a casino at the Bristol Mall exciting. Sorry, I don’t have a good poker face, but I enjoy betting on the horses, as well as casino night at the Knights of Columbus and occasional visits to the slots or roulette. It’s fun, as long as you limit your financial payout.

There are many reminders of the dangers of gambling abuse. Those who succumb have our pity, hope and help that they might overcome it. But I’m convinced most average people, like me, guard themselves accordingly.

Thus, may I tell my friends in Bristol that I support your efforts to open a casino? I wish you good luck!

Bristol is a destination location with your speedway and country music heritage. Why shouldn’t “Going to Bristol” be a popular tourist catch phrase for a casino? All of eastern Tennessee, the North Carolina mountains, southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and western Virginia would begin, in my opinion, to plan weekend trips to Bristol!

The casino will transform your city as a tourism mecca. It will boost your economy and provide investment and jobs for thousands — at the casino, car rentals, new restaurants, new hotels, gas stations, florists, you name it.

Although I’m a Democrat, I’m fond of the Calvin Coolidge comment, “The business of America is business!” Bringing a casino to Bristol is good business. It’s a good bet!!!

And maybe, increased tourism will one day bring Amtrak to Bristol, filled with tourists headed for the casino … some, like me, from Roanoke!

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