ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Thursday, the Illinois Gaming Board voted 4-0 to grant a license to Hard Rock Casino Rockford.
However, “Hard Rock Casino Rockford cannot commence construction on or begin gaming at the proposed facility without first submitting the required disclosures and receiving the request and receiving the appropriate IGB approval,” the gaming board said.
Under the license, the operators have 2 years to finalize construction.
The casino will be built on the site of the former Clock Tower Resort, at 7801 E. State Street at the I-90 exit ramp.
“Today’s approval was yet another milestone toward the fulfillment of Rockford’s long-awaited casino dream. A project of this scale is a complex process with many stakeholders. We have and will continue to work openly and closely with the IGB and all regulatory bodies to ensure that the new, permanent Hard Rock Casino meets and exceeds all requirements and expectations,” said Geno Iafrate, President, Hard Rock Casino Rockford
As part of Rockford’s plan to bring a Hard Rock Casino to the city, a temporary Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act opened at the former Giovanni’s restaurant, 610 N Bell School Rd.
The Rockford City Council voted in favor of the plan from Hard Rock International in October 2019, after considering proposals from the downtown Rock River West Casino Group and Forest City Casino.
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a gaming expansion bill into law on June 28, 2019, allowing a casino to be built in six areas in Illinois, including Rockford.
Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said the $310 million casino project would create 1,200 permanent jobs and another 1,000 during construction.
The company has committed to incorporate a music production studio at Washington Park Community Center, build an outdoor amphitheater at Levings Lake, provide enhanced performance opportunities and make possible improvements to the Sinnisssippi Music Shell. Hard Rock has also agreed to provide support for neighborhood youth programs.
In development competition with a Rockford casino, the Ho-Chunk Nation announced plans to build a $405 million resort casino in Beloit.