Rockford, a city in Illinois about 90 miles west from Chicago, is one step closer to opening a Hard Rock Casino. Construction of the new casino may commence this week, according to Senator Dave Syverson. The location, which formerly served as a convention center and restaurant, is owned by a family who was initially part of the 815 Entertainment LLC investment team.
“For more than 20 years, I have worked to bring this project to fruition, knowing that it will have such a positive economic impact locally. After so long, it is very rewarding to see this project gain real momentum.” Sen. Syverson said in a statement.
The temporary casino is situated about a mile away from the $310 million permanent venue at the east part of the city, according to information submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) from 815 Entertainment. It is expected that the venue will house about 730 slot machines. The Rockford Register Star reported that the construction is expected to take about three months.
IGB Denies Restaurant Owner’s License
Joseph Castrogiovanni, owner of the convention center and restaurant, was denied a gaming license by the IGB back in April. According to the Register Star, Castrogiovanni failed to reveal to the board that, in July 2020, he was charged with a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge. At that time, a car had driven onto Castrogiovanni’s family property and he later told the police he intended to shoot a warning shot as a result. However, one of the bullets managed to hit the car, in which two people were traveling. The projectile stopped in a pouch behind the passenger seat.
Castrogiovanni was part of 815 Entertainment; however, after the license denial, the company bought out the family and purchased the building. The new developers are expected to invest $8 million into the renewal of the facility.
Rockford to Benefit from Hard Rock
The casino will pay the city around $7 million each year, according to information from the IGB. It will also pay taxes according to the net income of its permanent and temporary venues. “While the temporary casino is open, Rockford will get an amount equal to at least 15 percent of the net revenue and no less than $1.82 million for the first 12 months it’s open. For subsequent years the temp venue remains open, the city gets 5 percent of net income but no less than $1.07 million.”
The city will get funding equivalent to 1% of the adjusted casino and sports betting revenues for the first two years of operation. After that, the yearly amount will be adjusted to .5% of the annual totals. It is expected that the permanent venue will host 2,000 gaming seats, six restaurants and a convention center. One thousand full-time jobs are expected to be created, with each full-time employee making more than $37,000, according to the developer.
Keeping It Simple Worked Well
Following the 2019 expanded gaming law, IGB chose Rockford as a place for one of the new casinos. In February, the board granted preliminary approval. “While other applications are still pending, we are seeing real progress with the casino, and I am so grateful that we had the community support in this decision,” Senator Syverson added.
The IGB issued a solicitation seeking proposals for a consultant to help analyze bids for the Waukegan and Chicago South Suburbs casinos. On May 25, Christiansen Capital Advisors LLC was awarded a three-year, $750,000 contract. The contract could last for ten years, with renewals. The New York-based company was one of the four bidders on this project.