Rockford’s temporary Hard Rock Casino to open in October

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Hard Rock plans to open its temporary casino in Rockford in October 2021.

The date was revealed during a vendor fair held on Wednesday.

Last month, the Gaming Board gave permission to begin construction on the temporary casino at Giovanni’s on E. State and Bell School.

The temporary casino can be open for up to two years while the permanent casino is built.

The Giovanni’s location is currently undergoing an $8 million renovation, and will hold over 600 slot machines; the Midway Bar sports bar; and the Rock River Bar and Grill restaurant.

In April, the Illinois Gaming Board denied a temporary casino license to Giovanni’s after owner Joseph Castrogiovanni failed to report he had been arrested for shooting at an occupied car in his driveway.

As part of Rockford’s plan to bring a Hard Rock Casino to the city, Giovanni’s, 610 N Bell School Rd, was meant to serve as a temporary casino while the permanent casino complex was under construction.

A license for the full casino project is still under consideration by the Illinois Gaming Board

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.

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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