Rockford mayor excited to see progress for temporary casino

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Gaming Board greenlights plans for Rockford’s temporary casino.

But a poker face remains surrounding the construction schedule of the permanent hard rock location. We spoke with Rockford mayor Tom McNamara who tells us he’s excited to see even a little bit of progress.

“Based on staff’s investigation, analysis, and review, I recommend that the board find the following individuals, business entities, and trusts suitable as key persons of 815 Entertainment, LLC.,” said Marcus Fruchter of the Illinois Gaming Board.

On Wednesday, the board granted a suppliers license to 815 Beltway Holdings. They own the former clock tower resort property where the proposed casino would be built.

IGB officials say the Hard Rock group needs to submit further plans for review. If approved, then construction could begin at both the temporary and permanent sites.

“Don’t forget, it’s about 1,000 construction jobs and about 800 permanent jobs for Rockfordians, so this is really a big win for everyone,” said Mayor McNamara.

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, new records show.

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.

The mayor says the licensure is an exciting step in the right direction.

“The sooner, the better that we can get the casino up and running, even the temporary is great news,” said Mayor McNamara.

Rockford’s casino is the first to be granted a supplier’s license since Illinois expanded gaming in 2019. McNamara adds that he is looking forward to finally seeing the project come to fruition in the Forest City.

“Our community has been wanting a casino for three d ecades, and to be able to deliver that is a huge accomplishment,” said Mayor McNamara.

One 815 Entertainment is given the approval to start construction, McNamara expects it will be roughly 3 or 4 months until the temporary casino is up and running.

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