By Jacob Roushia - Sep 8, 2022



The Hard Rock Casino project in Rockford has received approval for the next step toward establishing a permanent location.

This week the Illinois Gaming Board gave approval for basic work on the site of the casino to begin.

“The Illinois Gaming Board has given us approval to commence site work. The City of Rockford issued a permit that aligns with that approval only,” explained Kevin Owens, Hard Rock Casino Rockford spokesperson. “We continue to work with the Gaming Board on the remainder of the process to seek complete approval that will allow us to construct our permanent facility.”

Owens said more information on a timeline for the permanent casino should be coming in the next few weeks.

“Specifics are being ironed out at this time,” Owens explained. “We will be releasing more information in the coming weeks.”

This announcement pushes the project in the right direction, but the Illinois Gaming Board, Rockford and Hard Rock Casino are still in discussion, Owens said.

A temporary Hard Rock casino was opened in Rockford in November of 2021 and will operate until the permanent location is operational.

This temporary location is called Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act. The website advertises over 625 different slot machines.

The Hard Rock Opening Act announced a record of 45,000 guests in July of 2022.
On Jan. 27 the Illinois Gaming Board voted 4-0 to give Hard Rock Casino Rockford a license to construct the permanent casino. Once the permanent casino is constructed the gambling license will be transferred from the Opening Act to Hard Rock Casino Rockford.

In May, Geno Iafrate, Hard Rock Casino Rockford President, made the decision to have the hotel construction timeline move closer in line with the casino deadline.

The finished project will include a hotel, casino, several restaurants and also a Hard Rock Live venue also will be located within the resort.

The permanent casino’s maximum deadline is November 2023, which is two years after the temporary casino opened.

Meanwhile, the Ho-Chunk casino and resort project in Beloit has received final approval and tribal officials have indicated construction will begin in 2023. The Ho-Chunk casino project is to be build near the intersection of Willowbrook and Colley roads in Beloit.

In March of 2021, the Ho-Chunk project was given approval by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

One of the last major steps for the project was when the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved moving 33 acres of land into trust, in May.

The Ho-Chunk projects includes a hotel, casino and convention space, while also including entertainment options including restaurants.

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