Hard Rock Casino Rockford is getting very close to obtaining a gaming license to operate legally in Illinois. The casino’s proposal for its $310 million casino complex was deemed suitable by the Illinois Gaming Board and the casino is now one step closer to completing all the necessary paperwork and opening its doors to patrons.
Crucial Step in the Right Direction But Not the Final One
The Illinois Gaming Board’s positive decision about the casino’s proposal was crucial to getting the $310 million complex up and running as soon as possible. A failure at this stage would have thrown the project off the tracks as the board’s approval is needed for the project to continue as planned.
However, Marcus Fruchter, a Gaming Board Administrator, reminded Hard Rock Casino owners and investors that there was still some work to be done for the casino to get the final approval. He said that preliminary suitability was a crucial step towards getting the final license, but that it wasn’t the ultimate.
To get there, he encouraged the company to continue working with the board and provide all the necessary information regarding the casino’s owners and ownership structure, as well as relevant information about investors, employees, and vendors.
The First of Six Casinos to Get a Preliminary Approval
Hard Rock Casino’s ownership structure and its investors will be happy to know that they are the first of the six casinos that were authorized as suitable by the Illinois Gaming Board.
Five other casinos also got the green light to proceed with their initial proposals back in June 2019, but Hard Rock Casino Rockford is currently at the most advanced stage when it comes to getting that final approval.
Key Investor Involved in a Civil Lawsuit
The Gaming Board voted unanimously to find the casino proposal and project suitable. However, Gaming Board Chairman Charles Schmadeke echoed Fruchter’s statement that all was not done and that there was still a lot of work ahead.
Schmadeke said that they had some questions about the relationships of key individuals involved in the project, but that these were still only questions and not evidence.
When he said this, he was referring to the allegations that Hard Rock Casino Rockford investor, Dan Fischer, was illegally trying to expand his gambling empire.
Dan Fischer is the owner of Dotty’s gambling cafe and is currently defending his dealings in a civil lawsuit in which he is alleged to have entered a complex and potentially fraudulent $46.5 million deal which is deemed as a “sham transaction” in the lawsuit.
Fischer’s company has claimed repeatedly that there’s no wrongdoing in their efforts to expand their business, but questions have continued to be asked and that’s why Schmadeke made those veiled references after voting for the approval.
Crucially though, the Gaming Board Chairman said that, thus far, all the evidence he had seen did not show there were any problems with Hard Rock Casino Rockford’s proposal.
Boost for the Local Economy
Hard Rock Rockford will be an important part of Rockford’s economy both during construction and after the casino opens. Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said that the casino will generate up to 1,200 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent casino jobs when the entire complex starts operating.
That’s not surprising when you consider that the complex in the proposal includes a 65,000 square foot casino, a Hard Rock Cafe, and a Hard Rock Live venue that could accommodate an audience of up to 1,600 people.
Rockford will also get more than $7 million from the casino every year as the city is considered as a host community in the project. Under the terms of the host community agreement, Hard Rock Casino has to pay a minimum of $7 million to the host city or community.
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