Hard Rock announced on Wednesday the opening of its temporary Rockford casino. Located at 610 N Bell School Rd, the property opened at 11 a.m. to the public after a ribbon-cutting ceremony where Mayor Tom McNamara did the honors.
Today has been the most amazing day... and we are just getting started! Rockford, we're here! 🍾🎰🎇#rockfordcasino #hardrockrockford #rockonrockford #openingact #casino #hardrock #eightonefive pic.twitter.com/DGVLMQ7Evw— Hard Rock Rockford (@HRRockford) November 10, 2021
The new casino features over 37,000 square feet of gaming space offering 635 slots and Interblock Electronic Games, two restaurants, and a pop-up retail shop. There are no live table games.
The temporary casino will be open for up to two years while the permanent location is being built at the former Clock Tower site off E. State St., near the I-90 exit/entrance ramp.
During the opening ceremony, Mayor McNamara said: "When you look at this amazing development, you hired local Rockfordians, you followed through, you used local contractors, local minority contractors and you did it so well, I just want to say thank you to your commitment to our community”
Jon Lucas, COO of Hard Rock International, added: “We knew from day one that Rockford was the best fit for our casino, thanks to their energy and passion for this project as well as our great working relationship with local leaders. As this project moved forward, we made it a priority to bring on new vendors and team members from the greater Rockford area to further ingrain ourselves in this community and reaffirm the commitment we made from day one to be an active member of this region for years to come.”
WELCOME TO ROCKFORD, HARD ROCK: For decades, there has been a local push for a casino in Rockford, and the wait is finally over. Our casino is now open! pic.twitter.com/igmwxdn8CK— City of Rockford (@CityofRockford) November 10, 2021
In June of 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed the gaming expansion bill into law, opening the door for six areas in Illinois to open casinos, including Rockford. In October of 2019, city leaders voted in favor of a plan from Hard Rock International to submit to the Illinois Gaming Board.
The decision to approve or deny the project was supposed to be made by October of 2020, but was pushed back six months due to COVID-19.
In June of 2020, the casino's temporary location was greenlit by the IGB to begin construction inside the former Giovanni's Restaurant and Convention Center.