Hard Rock Rockford Considers Adding Amusement Tax To Events

Written By Tyler Andrews on June 25, 2024
A view of a live concert, signifying that Rockford could add a 5% amusement tax to the new Hard Rock Rockford.

Hard Rock Casino Rockford is considering adding a 5% amusement tax, which would be charged to all event tickets.

This development coincides with the casino’s planned shift to its permanent location, which will take place Aug. 29 pending approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.

City officials aim for revenue equity across Rockford

According to Rockford officials, this initiative would expand the revenue remitted to the city. Taxes would be levied on any event that requires tickets, such as concerts and other shows.

At the moment, tickets for events at the BMO Center and Coronado Performing Arts Center have a 5% tax added to them. Hard Rock is not part of the special service area that covers the section of downtown where those centers are situated.

According to Todd Cagnoni, the city administrator, besides revenue gains, the proposed amusement tax on Hard Rock Casino Rockford events is to make sure there is a balance among Illinois casinos and other event venues.

“At the time that we as a community were evaluating the Hard Rock Casino, we wanted equity throughout the community,” Cagnoni said. “There is an existing special service area that already has a tax that is specific to BMO and Coronado. So the amusement tax that’s being proposed and was anticipated when the casino was announced would primarily be for the casino.”

Controversial amusement tax comes just after sports betting tax hike

The amusement tax would funnel into the City Redevelopment Fund, which promotes the arts and culture in Rockford.

Event-goers have voiced their disapproval of the proposed tax, which would mean they would pay a higher price for tickets. It is uncertain whether this disapproval would hurt ticket sales or disrupt the event turnover rate.

Event attendees are not the only ones confronting the issue of paying more taxes. Last month, the Illinois General Assembly agreed to raise sports betting taxes, with the smallest sportsbook paying up to 20% and the largest paying 40%.

Meanwhile, in May, the 15 Illinois casinos posted an 18% annual revenue increase, with a 5% increase over April revenue.

Hard Rock Casino’s permanent site promises economic growth

The Hard Rock Casino’s permanent site is being constructed at 7801 E. State Street, and the venue will cover more than 175,000 square feet, which will provide a bigger entertainment space. The new venue’s economic value to the state includes creating a number of jobs for residents.

Early this month, the casino operator announced that Rockford native Mark Johnson will be its new director of gaming operations.

As the casino prepares for its grand opening, scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Hard Rock has booked top entertainers to thrill attendees at the Hard Rock Live! concert venue. Tickets are already on sale for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Brad Paisley tickets will be available on Friday.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Tyler Andrews

Tyler is the Managing Editor for PlayVirginia, covering sports, sports law, and gambling for the Peach State. He has also covered similar topics for NCSharp, PlayCA, PlayFlorida, PlayOhio, and PlayTexas. Tyler’s current focus is Georgia’s pathway to gaming legalization.

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