Hard Rock International’s temporary casino in Rockford, IL, is going to go away. However, it’s going to be replaced with something bigger and better. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) voted 4 to 1 to license the Hard Rock Casino Rockford. The license gives the operator two years to complete the construction of the new property.
Hard Rock Lands License in Rockford
Hard Rock has overcome a number of challenges in Illinois to get this far. The site for the new casino has already been picked out, but it still has a few more obstacles to cross. The IGB stated, “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.”
Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, stated that the $310-million casino project would provide 1,200 permanent jobs and an additional 1,000 during construction.
On June 28, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill to expand gaming in Illinois. This allows for a casino in six Illinois areas, including Rockford.
Hard Rock Temporary Casino Seeing Green
According to the IGB, the first two months of the temporary casino’s operations show the viability of local gambling. The casino generated $8.46 million in revenue during November and December. In just its first 22 days of operation, the temporary casino had picked up revenue of $4,14 million.
According to IGB documents, the temporary casino must pay slightly more than $1 million in state taxes and $504,000 in local taxes.
Rockford’s temporary casino has no table games. However, the temporary casino still generated the seventh-highest revenue among the 11 casinos. Rockford’s casino has more than 625 of the newest slot machines and electronic table games.
Hard Rock Appoints Geno Iafrate President of Hard Rock Rockford
Geno Iafrate was named officially president of the casino earlier this month after it had been operating under his leadership since it opened.
He said of his appointment, “When I entered the casino industry two decades ago, Rockford was already well into its quest for a casino. The City’s passion, pursuit and energy paid off, and I am excited to lead Hard Rock in being an active member of this community for years to come.”
Rockford’s new casino is going to have some competition. The Ho-Chunk Nation has plans for a $405-million resort-casino in Beloit, WI. This is only about 30 minutes away from Rockford, and could pull some local gamblers away from the Illinois property.