Illinois casinos officials are considering adding a sportsbook to Hard Rock Casino Rockford: An Opening Act.
The news comes on the heels of the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) reporting a record-breaking month of July. Opening Act, Hard Rock’s temporary casino, had 45,000 visitors enter the venue.
It was the most patrons Hard Rock welcomed in a single month since the temporary casino opened in Nov. 2021.
Even if casino officials decide to build a sportsbook, they will need licensing and approval from the IGB, which Hard Rock is hoping to receive by the end of 2022.
According to 13 News, Hard Rock is also planning to construct a pit with six new games due to high demand by bettors. This would add to the casino’s 635 slot machines and electronic gaming options.
How opening a sportsbook will help other areas of the Hard Rock casino
It’s impressive that Hard Rock hit its high in visitors in the month of July. During summer months, Illinois casinos are forced into competition for guests who also have the option of spending time outdoors.
The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County has over 10,000 acres of land to explore. And many northern Illinois citizens vacation in Wisconsin on one of the 15,000 lakes America’s Dairyland has to offer.
If Hard Rock is successful in opening a permanent casino at the start of 2023, it will be winter. And gamblers will have far fewer ways to spend their time during those frigid months.
While patrons are enjoying the casino’s potential sportsbook, they could venture off and partake in the other gaming options Opening Act has to offer.
Opening a sportsbook during NFL and CFB seasons is crucial
Two of the most popular markets for Illinois sports betting are the NFL and college football.
Below are some sports betting data according to the IGB. The top bullet point represents the total sports betting handle from a four-month span in 2021 when no football was not in season. And the second bullet point is the total sports betting handle during football season.
A betting handle is defined as the amount of money accepted in bets. The data below is from the nine Illinois casinos combined:
- In-person wagering handle from May 2021 to Aug. 2021: $57,369,603
- In-person wagering handle from Sept. 2021 to Dec. 2021: $76,499,218
While Hard Rock isn’t expected to receive proper licensing for a sportsbook until the end of 2022, it would still be beneficial to open the sportsbook in early 2023 because the CFB has its bowl games during that time. And the NFL playoffs begin in January.
CFB’s College Football playoffs are some of the most highly bet-on events of the year. And the Super Bowl is also famous for receiving lots of attention from bettors.