During a recent virtual vendor fair meeting, property officials provided local businesses with information about partnership opportunities at the temporary facility and announced the October opening date.
Rockford was one of six cities that were selected to host a Las Vegas-style casino as part of a sweeping gambling reform approved by Gov. J. B. Pritzker in 2019. City officials picked Hard Rock as their preferred casino partner in the fall of that year.
The Florida-based gaming and hospitality company has presented a $311 million plan for the development of a casino complex at the former site of the Clock Tower Resort on Rockford’s East State Street near the I-90 entrance.
The permanent property will feature a 65,000-square-foot casino with an initial 1,500 slot machines, 55 table games, and a sportsbook, a Hard Rock Café, a 1,600-seat Hard Rock Live concert venue, three dining outlets, and two quick-service cafés.
Last month, Hard Rock’s project took a big stride when the Illinois Gaming Board gave the green light for it to seek construction approvals. The regulator also approved a list of 51 investors involved in the scheme, including three executives, and granted a supplier license to Hard Rock.
It gave the nod to Hard Rock to commence construction on the temporary facility at the end of June.
Temporary Casino to Take 90-120 to Complete
Earlier in July, the state gaming regulator also approved the team members who will be running Hard Rock’s temporary casino in Rockford while the main resort is under development.
Construction on the temporary casino is under way and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said recently that “lots of construction’s going out at the temporary casino and they’re really moving forward with their benchmarks of 90-120 days to get that completed.”
In other words, the casino is expected to be up and running by October of this year.
The temporary gambling venue will be located at the site of the Giovanni’s restaurant and banquet hall at 610 N. Bell School Road. The 38,000-square-foot facility is set to undergo an $8.8 million renovation to be converted into a gaming hall with 735 slot machines, two dining outlets, and possibly a Rock Shop selling Hard Rock memorabilia.
The temporary casino site is expected to remain operational for around two years while the permanent gambling and entertainment complex is under construction.
When the temporary location is fully built, the Illinois Gaming Board will have to approve all the games available and the facility’s set up. This is typically done right before a gaming hall’s grand opening.
35th District State Sen. Dave Syverson said recently that Hard Rock and Rockford are in a race against time to keep gambling money in the state as Beloit in neighboring Wisconsin is awaiting federal approval to launch a hotel and casino resort operated by the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Sen. Syverson further pointed out that the next step toward the permanent location involves securing the necessary approvals for the blueprints for the project. These need to be given the nod by city officials and the Gaming Board.
Source: October opening planned for temporary Hard Rock Casino in Rockford, 23 WIFR, July 28, 2021