A Hard Rock Casino in Rockford, Illinois, opened its doors this week even as plans for its replacement continued.
The plan is for the temporary casino in Rockford, at 610 N. Bell School Road, to operate for two years while a permanent facility is built.
The temporary casino has 37,000 square feet of gaming space and more than 625 slot machines, according to Hard Rock International, as well as electronic table games.
According to a Rockford Register Star report, the Rockford casino is the first of six such facilities to open since an Illinois gaming expansion act was signed in 2019.
"We knew from Day 1 that Rockford was the best fit for our casino, thanks to their energy and passion for this project," Jon Lucas, chief operating officer for Hard Rock International, told the Register Star.
Hard Rock is planning a permanent $310 million facility just a few blocks from the temporary casino; that is slated to open in about two years. Hard Rock won approval for the project in 2019, with the recommendation of Mayor Tom McNamara and his administration.
McNamara attended Wednesday’s grand opening along with other local officials.
“This is just the beginning, it’s the opening act,” McNamara said.
In Illinois, online casino real money options abound in addition to brick-and-mortar casinos such as the new Rockford outlet.
There is an effort underway to introduce online gaming to Illinois – if that happens, the state would join six others (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Nevada and West Virginia) in having some form of mobile gaming, either online poker or other options.
Illinois casinos made $109.1 million in revenue for October, up 2.7% from the $106.2 million in September. Those figures include revenue from 10 commercial casinos operating in the state.
Now Hard Rock’s casino can be counted in that number too.