The Rockford area may soon be closer to bringing a casino to the city.

Senate Bill 7 passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday. It would allow for casinos in Rockford and five other Illinois cities. As part of the legislation, all of the up-front licensing fees for the new casinos would go to the state’s General Revenue Fund to help pay bills.

State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) sponsored the bill.

“So many of us have put in a lot of time trying to make this happen, and this is the next step,” said Sen. Syverson. “If we can push this across the finish line, it will bring in millions of dollars to our local economy.”

The legislation previously passed in February, but was held due to the fact that it was tied to the other bills in the so-called “Grand Bargain” package. Before Wednesday’s vote, the legislation was amended to be untied from the other legislation, freeing it to advance to the House.

“This would be an absolute game changer for our area, a major driver of new, good-paying jobs and economic activity,” Syverson said. “I believe we may finally have this on track to actually be signed into law.”