This week, the Illinois Gaming Commission decided that Hard Rock International could begin construction of its Hard Rock Casino in Rockford. The property was found suitable for a license, which means construction can start on a temporary location. A license has yet to be fully approved for the facility.

Moving Forward

The vote by the Commission, which took place on Thursday, is a strong step in the right direction for Hard Rock. It clears the way for investors to arrange the financing process, start construction of the site and order slot machines, etc.

The permanent location is Giovanni’s on North Bell School Road. The permanent location is at East State Street, at the former Clock Tower Resort. The permanent location will cost $310 million to create. It is expected that 1,200 employment positions will be available at the facility. Around 1,000 will be created from construction.

Jon Lucas, the chief operating officer for Hard Rock International, commented that the company is grateful to the state and Gaming Board for support of the project and allowing the process to move closer to fruition. Lucas stated further that Hard Rock knows the city of Rockford well and are excited about what lies ahead.

Ongoing for Quite Some Time

The process of licensing the casino has been ongoing for quite some time. The Rockford City Council approved the plan in October 2019, after a presentation by Hard Rock International. Proposals were also provided by Forest City Casino and Rock River West Casino Group.

Earlier that year, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a gambling expansion bill making it possible for a casino to be created in six areas of Illinois. Rockford is among the listed areas. The Gaming Board had until October 2020 to deny or approve a project. The approval process was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as meetings had to be postponed.