ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The community’s excitement has not worn off since the ribbon was cut, as even more hopefuls made their way to the casino after sun-down on Wednesday.

Players said that it is exciting to have somewhere to place bets in the stateline, and some said that they are already looking forward to their next visit.

Diana Johnson has been wishing for a Rockford casino for more than four decades, and she said that Hard Rock’s Opening Act was worth the wait.

“I’ve wanted a casino here forever, and it’s finally here and it’s amazing,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long time coming, and people will be amazed at what we have here now.”

City leaders and residents alike believe that the casino is a destination that will draw people to the “Forest City.”

“We are really excited about the long-term benefits a casino will bring to our community,” said Mayor Tom McNamara.

“It’s new, it’s refreshing, people are excited, you can see that,” Johnson added. “We’re all having a good time.”

Sonia Hicks drove from Peoria to Rockford Wednesday evening to see what the casino had to offer. She said that while there are places to gamble closer to home, she wanted to experience something new.

“I’m not a casino person, but I will travel and join the crowd,” Hicks said. “I’d been here before when it was Giovanni’s. Now I’m back again, it’s the casino of Rockford. Good things happen.”

Rockford resident Janice Meadows said that she is likely to be a regular customer, and that the casino is better than she expected.

“It’s got more slots for people to enjoy themselves. They don’t really have to wait on four or five slots that they have in different places, so I think it’s really good,” Meadows said.

Hard Rock’s Opening Act is expected to be up and running for two years while the permanent casino is being built at the former clock tower site, 7801 E. State St. That location will include a resort and concert venue in addition to the casino.