The Illinois Gaming Board has approved the request of 815 Entertainment LLC to construct a temporary casino in Rockford at 610 N.Bell School Road.
It is the first of the six new casino locations approved in the state’s 2019 gambling expansion to be given the green light to begin construction.
In its letter of approval, Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Frutcher wrote:
“Based on a review of the materials applicant submitted in support of this request along with your representations, and pursuant to the authority delegated to me under the June 11, 2020, Board Resolution … request is hereby approved. Applicant may now commence construction at the temporary casino facility.”
An $8.8M Renovation Project on Former Giovanni’s Restaurant
The 37,790 square foot former Giovanni’s Restaurant and Convention Center will be converted into a temporary casino location. The $8.8M renovation project is expected to have 736 slot machines, two restaurants, and possibly include a “Rock Shop”.
Construction is expected to be completed in three months but before the temporary Rockford casino can operate, the owners must first obtain the Gaming Board’s permit to operate and receive approval of the casino’s security and surveillance plans.
The temporary Rockford casino could operate for two years while the permanent $311M Hard Rock Redford Casino is completed.
Permanent Casino Project Still Needs Further Approval
815 Entertainment’s Hard Rock Redford Casino project still has to secure further approval before construction can start at the former Clock Tower Resort at the entrance of Interstate 90 and East State Street.
The plan is to transform the iconic piece of property with historical significance into a Hard Rock brand by building a 65,000 square foot gaming location, a Hard Rock Cafe, and a 1,600-seat Hard Rock Live Venue. That project is estimated to provide 1,200 constructions jobs and up to 1,000 permanent jobs at the casino complex.
Hard Rock, which operates 240 venues in 69 different countries, including 12 casinos, is expected to bring in potential visitors well beyond the Illinois borders. The location of the permanent casino has tremendous access from Interstate 90 with nearly 70,000 cars passing daily.