First New Illinois Casino Receives Construction Approval

  • A temporary casino has received approval to begin construction in Rockford, Illinois.
  • This will be the first of six casinos approved in an Illinois bill from 2019.
  • The temporary casino will be in use for up to two years while the final casino is constructed.

ROCKFORD, Ill. - The first of six casinos approved in Illinois 2019 casino gambling expansion has received approval to begin construction.

The Rebuild Illinois Act was signed in June 2019 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and called for the construction of six new casinos in Illinois.

The locations of these casinos were designated as Chicago, Danvillle, Rockford, South Suburbs, Walker's Bluff and Waukegan.

Now, Rockford’s casino has received approval to begin construction on a temporary location - the first of these six to break ground.

The plan is to renovate a former convention center/restaurant for use as a temporary casino before construction begins on a permanent location.

While this may seem like they’re doing the same job twice, it has some benefits for the local community.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara was quick to point out that the job benefits to the city would be notable.

“815 Entertainment has been given the green light to begin construction of our temporary Hard Rock casino. Of the six casinos that were approved in the casino expansion bill in 2019, we are the first to begin construction! This is a huge accomplishment for our community, and it will bring hundreds of construction jobs to Rockford!” said McNamara.

In addition, the temporary location will allow for gambling to begin in Rockford somewhat ahead of the full construction work.

The Rockford casino will be of the Hard Rock brand, and the temporary casino will be as well.

Plans are for the temporary casino to be in operation for 18-24 months during the time it takes for the construction of the permanent location. The temporary location will feature 700 slot machines, but does not currently have an operating license.

They need to receive approval from the Illinois Gaming Board to operate out of the location once it is constructed, which they expect to receive.