Temporary Rockford Hard Rock Casino Looks to Open in October

Temporary Rockford Hard Rock Casino Looks to Open in October

The Hard Rock Casino in Rockford is planning for an October opening of its temporary facility for IL gambling.

The target date was announced during a vendor informational session this week, according to published reports. The Illinois Gaming Board in June approved construction of the temporary casino. It will be located at the site of the former Giovanni's Restaurant on North Bell School Road.

Two weeks ago, the gaming board approved personnel to begin the operation of the temporary facility, expected to cost nearly $9 million and include more than 600 slot machines and 8,500-square feet of gaming space, according to the Rockford Register Star.

The temporary facility will run for about two years while construction of the $311 million permanent casino is ongoing, the Register Star report said.

“A lot of construction going on out at the temporary casino and they’re really moving forward with their benchmarks of 90-120 days to get that completed,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara told WIFR.

There are currently 10 casinos in Illinois.

Chicago Casino Planned

In mid-July, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told a national gaming conference that her city is an opportune location for a new Illinois gambling facility. Downtown Chicago is one of six sites allowed to construct a casino after Gov. JB Pritzker signed gaming expansion into law in June 2019. The new law does not include IL online casinos.

Chicago announced in April that it would begin taking proposals. The application window will close next month, with finalists to be announced next year.

Recent reports have suggested that some major casino operators are lukewarm on the idea of bidding on the Chicago casino. The new casino is expected to open by 2025.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts have decided not to bid on the $1 billion project. Rush Street Gaming, which owns and operates Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, was still considering a bid, the Sun-Times reported.

Rush Street also operates BetRivers Illinois, one of the top sports betting sites in the state. Illinois sports betting saw $507.3 million wagered in May, the most recent monthly report available from the state. It usually comes in second or third to New Jersey sports betting in total handle nationally.



Ron Fritz is a former editor for IllinoisBet.com.

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