If there were any doubts that the public would welcome a casino in Rockford, Illinois, they’ve been put to rest. People showed up in throngs for the grand opening of the temporary Hard Rock Casino, aptly named ‘A Hard Rock Opening Act,’ and haven’t stopped coming since.
According to figures released by the Illinois Gaming Board, in just 22 days of operation, the Rockford Casino brought in $4.1 million, not including regular table games.
Hard Rock Rockford provides a boon to the city and state
Many see the opening as a win-win for both the players and the economy. Of the $4.1 million brought in in November, the city reaped $248,935 while the state received $497,870.
Mayor Tom McNamara said that revenue is already on pace to shatter initial expectations. He noted that early estimates were hoping to see roughly $1.5 million in revenue filter back into the city. However, after just 22 days in November, the figures were projected to top $3 million annually for the temporary casino.
According to McNamara, the city is still figuring out how to best use the future windfall.
“Right now, anything above and beyond, we have not allocated, so it would just go into the general fund until we allocate those resources”, McNamara said during a recent news conference. “I think we’ll probably do that once we get a little be closer toward that permanent casino.”
City officials say that they have already committed $1.5 million of casino revenue to an initiative called the Rockford Promise. The program will provide full-tuition scholarships to those who qualify from the Public School District in Rockford.
A lot to be excited about
While the Illinois casino isn’t in its permanent location yet, there’s still plenty to be excited about at its temporary location. The current space boasts more than 37,000 square feet of gaming area and some of the newest slot machines and high-end electronic table games on the market.
There will be two dining options, including an upscale option and a more casual dining room. There’s also a retail shop where you can purchase all of the familiar Hard Rock merchandise recognizable throughout the world.
As Jon Lucas, COO of Hard Rock International, said:
“We knew from day one that Rockford was the best fit for our casino, thanks to their energy and passion for this project as well as our great working relationship with local leaders. As this project moved forward, we made it a priority to bring on new vendors and team members from the greater Rockford area to further ingrain ourselves in this community and reaffirm the commitment we made from day one to be an active member of this region for years to come.”
What’s next for the Rockford Casino?
The current temporary Rockford Casino will be in place for up to two years, while construction of a permanent resort takes place at the former Clock Tower site.
Once the casino reaches its permanent site, the city will be guaranteed $7.5 million annually, according to its agreement with Hard Rock.