ROCKFORD — Hard Rock Casino has revealed its target opening date for the first time, telling the Illinois Gaming Board on Thursday that it hopes to be open by Labor Day 2024.
Executives from the casino delivered a detailed presentation to the board on the performance of their Opening Act casino, the progress of their construction at East State Street and Interstate 90 and the state of their workforce. That was done as they requested a one-year extension on how long Hard Rock is permitted to operate its temporary casino at 610 N. Bell School Road.
The Gaming Board voted unanimously to grant that extension, allowing the Opening Act to operate until Nov. 9, 2024.
“Hard Rock Casino Rockford has indeed set forth good cause delaying the completion of its permanent facility, and demonstrated its good-faith efforts to complete the construction of that facility,” Marcus Fruchter, administrator of the gaming board, said in recommending the extension.
Under state law, a temporary casino location can operate for two years unless an extension is granted by the Illinois Gaming Board. Rockford Casino will hit that deadline on Nov. 9, but it will still be roughly 10 months before the full casino resort is complete.
Hard Rock Rockford President Geno Iafrate said construction has faced supply-chain related delays that are common in the construction industry after the coronavirus pandemic. It broke ground on the future casino last September.
“The pandemic in and of itself primarily created the challenges that I think all operators are still living with today,” Iafrate said during the board meeting. “From the inflationary price increases, the supply-chain disruptions, the tightening of the financial markets: Those three primary factors as leftovers from the pandemic have made large projects such as ours in Rockford quite challenging.”
Iafate said they feel confident they can meet the new target dates set forth before the board. The exterior shell of the 180,000-square-foot casino is expected to be complete later this year. Interior work will continue through the winter and gaming equipment is expected to be loaded in by May 2024, Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International, told the board.
Lucas said the target opening date is late August 2024, with a grand opening around Labor Day.
The future facility will have 65,000-square-feet of casino space, 1,300 electronic gaming devices, 44 live table games, six poker tables, a sports book and 1,800 guest parking spots. There will also be Hard Rock Café, Council Oak Restaurant, Plum VIP Lounge, Food Hall, a Hard Rock themed gift shop and the Hard Rock Live entertainment venue with 1,600 seats.
“I think you’ll see it’s going to be what we build: First class facilities that are very, very upscale,” Lucas said.
Source: Rock River Current