LOOK INSIDE: Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino gives presentation to Illinois Gaming Board

CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Gaming Commission will consider the approval of a license for Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino project after hearing a public presentation given Wednesday.

The gaming board met this morning to hear a pubic Preliminary Suitability Presentation from the casino. Hard Rock is one of six Illinois casino projects under consideration.

The board said it would not vote on the casino’s license suitability today, but would reconvene on February 4th to determine whether the project will advance to the next step in the process.

The presentation also included several renderings of what the interior of the casino will look like.

The Rockford City Council voted in favor of the plan from Hard Rock International in October 2019, after considering proposals from the downtown Rock River West Casino Group and Forest City Casino.

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a gaming expansion bill into law on June 28, 2019, allowing a casino to be build in six areas in Illinois, including Rockford.

The Illinois Gaming Board had a deadline to approve or deny the project by October 2020, but opted to delay the approval as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted regular meetings throughout the year.

Once a license is approved, construction can begin at both the casino’s permanent location, on the former Clock Tower Resort property on E. State Street, and the temporary facility at Giovanni’s on N. Bell School Road.

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said the $310 million casino project would create 1,200 permanent jobs and another 1,000 during construction.

The company has committed incorporate a music production studio at Washington Park Community Center, build an outdoor amphitheater at Levings Lake, provide enhanced performance opportunities and make possible improvements to the Sinnisssippi Music Shell. Hard Rock has also agreed to provide support for neighborhood youth programs.

In development competition with a Rockford casino, the Ho-Chunk Nation announced plans to build a $405 million resort-casino in Beloit.

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