Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino Still Waiting for Approval


Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino had to wait for more than a year for approval. Finally, it is back as a topic on Illinois Gaming Board’s meeting, but not as it hopes, for final approval.

Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino must make a public presentation, called a Preliminary Suitability Presentation, in front of the next board meeting, scheduled for next Wednestay. The casino representatives will explain why it should receive license approval.

The Board will cover topic related to Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino, such as its capability to meet all licensing requirements, its background and reputation, business competence, experience to hold a license and the adequate funding sources it has for the project.

Pam Maher, Spokesperson for Hard Rock Casino, Rockford, said that the team is fully prepared and eager to stand in front of the Illinois Gaming Board. Maher also expressed her confidence in the proposal’s success for the North Illinois region.

In the meantime, Mayor Tom McNamara wrote on the city’s facebook page: “We are confident in our Hard Rock partners and the proposal they have put forth”. He added: “The road to bringing a Rockford casino has certainly been long, but we are optimistic our proposal will be approved at each step so we can turn our long-awaited vision into reality.”

One Year Later

Wednesday will mark one year since Rockford and Hard Rock first sent their application for license to the Illinois Gaming Board. According to the state’s law, the board had to approve it by October 2020, but instead, it gave itself another six-month extension.

The future casino will be $300 million complex. The planned location for it is at the site of the former Clock Tower Resort. The casino complex will feature a 65,000-square-foot gaming floor with slot machines and table games, a 1,600-seat Hard Rock Live event venue and a Hard Rock Café.

For the sake of the new property, Hard Rock brand has partnered with 53 Rockford investors.

Last summer, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker authorized the development of a casino in Rockford as part of its statewide gambling expansion effort, which includes the construction of six new casinos around the state and one in Rockford.

The Rockford’s proposal was the first to be submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board last year.

On the October 29 board meeting, IGB Administrator Marcus Frucher said: “Like all private government agencies and private businesses, the board’s work has been impacted by COVID-19” He added: “This is not an excuse or a crutch, it is simply an acknowledgement that work and life are different in a global pandemic.”

Before the official approval, no construction for the new casino can happen. The proposed location site is on East State Street and Interstate 90, and the temporary location is at Giovanni’s on North Bell School Road.

The next date after Wednesday for the board meeting is set to March 10 and then on April 21. Both stand in the six-month timeframe previously marked by the board to approve Rockford’s casino.

Source: “Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino on gaming board agenda Wednesday, not for final approval”, Wrex, January 25, 2021

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