LIVE: Illinois Gaming Board considers Rockford Arduous Rock On line casino proposal

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Gaming Commission is scheduled to vote whether or not to advance Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino project another step toward license approval Wednesday morning.

The gaming board will meet at 10 a.m. to hear a pubic Preliminary Suitability Presentation from the casino, on why it should receive a license approval from the board. Hard Rock is one of six Illinois casinos under consideration today.

It’s official: Rockford City Council chooses Hard Rock

The Rockford City Council voted in favor of the plan from Hard Rock International in October 2019, after considering proposals from the downtown Rock River West Casino Group and Forest City Casino.

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a gaming expansion bill into law on June 28, 2019, allowing a casino to be build in six areas in Illinois, including Rockford.

The Illinois Gaming Board had a deadline to approve or deny the project by October 2020, but opted to delay the approval as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted regular meetings throughout the year.

Once a license is approved, construction can begin at both the casino’s permanent location, on the former Clock Tower Resort property on E. State Street, and the temporary facility at Giovanni’s on N. Bell School Road.

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said the casino would create 1,200 permanent jobs and another 1,000 during construction.

The company has committed incorporate a music production studio at Washington Park Community Center, build an outdoor amphitheater at Levings Lake, provide enhanced performance opportunities and make possible improvements to the Sinnisssippi Music Shell. Hard Rock has also agreed to provide support for neighborhood youth programs.

In development competition with a Rockford casino, the Ho-Chunk Nation announced plans to build a $405 million resort-casino in Beloit.