In a Monday press conference, Mayor Tom McNamara said that of the three proposals received for a Rockford casino, the Hard Rock International Casino submission was “the most complete and sound proposal” and was officially recommended to City Council by the northern Illinois city.

On August 30, the Seminole Tribe of Florida-owned company was the first operator to submit a proposal to win Rockford’s casino license.

The proposal for the site of the former Clock Tower Resort at East State Street along Interstate 39/90 announced in July reportedly includes a casino, 2,000-seat concert venue and a café.

Economic impact:

According to Hard Rock officials, their proposal would mean 1,200 temporary construction jobs and after the casino opens, 1,000 permanent full and part-time jobs. And as one of the most globally recognized brands, would draw global appeal, something that developers say would be beneficial to what it calls a “regional casino.”

WREX further reports that the city of Rockford staff say that the financing structure for Hard Rock’s proposal is credible. And that it [proposal] moreover includes minimum gambling tax guarantees that are both realistic and sustainable, as well as additional revenue sharing payments that would offset possible impacts felt by the city.

As part of the potential agreement, Hard Rock has agreed to pay the city of Rockford a minimum of $7 million annually in gaming taxes, along with other revenue commitments, such as the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence, Fire and Police and others determined by the city.

Stabilize city’s finances:

According to the news agency, Mayor McNamara, explained…

“We know that a casino will bring hundreds of construction and permanent jobs, along with added revenue to help us continue the work of stabilizing our City’s finances both in the short term and long term. My responsibility as mayor, and that of our team and the City Council, was to select the proposal or proposals that had the BEST opportunity to provide the MOST benefits to Rockford.”

The other two proposals include:

  • Businessmen Henry Leong and Kjell Kaashagen’s proposal for a Forest City Casino, hotel, golf entertainment complex, waterpark and family fun center to be located on a 135-acre site south of Mercyhealth’s Javon Bea Hospital-Riverside on E Riverside Blvd in Rockford.
  • Gorman & Co. Illinois Market President Ron Clewer’s proposal is for a casino, Rockford Aquarium and entertainment complex to be located on a 13-acre site south of the Embassy Suites & Rockford Conference Center.

Needed approvals:

The recommendation from the city will now go to R which reportedly met on Monday night. The proposal will also need to be approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Employment training:

Meanwhile, people eager to work for the proposed casino have reportedly begun to ask Hard Rock for applications.

23 WIFR reports that The Workforce Connection’s Lisa Bly, said…

“We are excited and looking forward to working with them.”

The partnership of state and federally funded employment and training programs [The Workforce Connection] is reportedly working with City staff to ensure that people receive proper training.

“Pre-apprenticeship programs are what they’re called where the individual are training on the application process and they are trained on refining their skills as it relates to mathematics and measurements and different things of that nature,” said Bly.