Hard Rock International officially submitted on Friday its proposal for a $300 million casino complex in the Illinois city of Rockford to the state Gaming Board. The plan was endorsed by the City Council earlier this month.
Hard Rock has partnered with 53 Rockford investors to develop Hard Rock Casino Rockford. The property is planned to be located at the site of the former Clock Tower Resort on East State Street near the I-90 entrance. The casino complex will feature a 65,000-square-foot gaming floor with slot machines and table games, a 1,600-seat Hard Rock Live event venue, and a Hard Rock Cafe.
The development of a casino in Rockford is part of a statewide gambling expansion effort that Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker authorized this summer in a bid to secure funds for his $41.5 billion capital plan. The expansion of the state’s gambling industry includes the construction of six new casinos around Illinois, including one in Rockford.
Of all six new locations authorized to host a casino, the Rockford proposal was the first to be submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board. While Hard Rock’s plan was approved by city officials in an October 7 vote, it is the state’s gambling regulator that has the ultimate say on whether the Florida-based gaming and hospitality company should be allowed to build the property.
Application Materials Exceed 10,000 Pages
Hard Rock said this week, as it was preparing to submit its casino license application with the Illinois Gaming Board, that application materials exceeded 10,000 pages and that those would be delivered to the regulator on high-capacity USB drives.
As part of the application process, Hard Rock was also required to pay a $250,000 license application fee and a $50,000 background check fee.
The Gaming Board could take up to 12 months to review Hard Rock’s application and conduct background checks on everyone involved in the project.
Commenting on Hard Rock submitting its application, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said that he is hopeful board members will take the application papers “in the order in which they were brought to them and they see we have an international brand, an incredibly thoughtful and thorough proposal, and they see that a community of citizens at large and the City Council has highly supported it and they will move quickly on it.”
Last week, Hard Rock revealed the list of individuals and business organizations that have invested in its Rockford casino project. The names of those involved were previously kept confidential by the City Council to honor Hard Rock’s request.
The company released the records containing the names of the 53 investors in the project after local newspaper the Rockford Register Star appealed a denied Freedom of Information Act request. Hard Rock’s initial decision not to disclose its investors was met with criticism from many residents.
During the October 7 City Council vote on the project, Alderwoman Linda McNeely, who cast the single negative vote, said that there should be no reason for Hard Rock to keep those investing in its property secret and that every resident of the city would want to know who would benefit from the casino when operational.
Source: Hard Rock Rockford applies for state casino license, RRStar.com
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