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Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino on gaming board agenda, but not for final approval

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — After almost a year of waiting, Rockford's casino is finally on an Illinois Gaming Board agenda, but it is not for the final approval of the casino license application.

The Illinois Gaming Board scheduled a special meeting for Thursday at 10 a.m., one day after the 365-day deadline to make a decision on the Hard Rock Casino.

Rockford and seven others are on the agenda to amend their applications. The other casino licenses include three proposals in Waukegan, three in south suburban Chicago and one in Williamson County.

By law, an amendment to an application of the license must be approved by the IGB. The IGB tells 13 WREX this is only a vote to approve the amendment to the application, not a final approval for the casino license itself.

By law, the IGB has a year from when the license application was sent to the gaming board, which happened on October 28, 2019. It must approve the license at a public meeting, but Rockford's license wasn't on any public meeting agenda in that year timeframe. If it does not meet that deadline, it has the option to hold a special public meeting, or give a written reason for an extension, and when it expects to have a determination.

Hard Rock and the City of Rockford both tell 13 WREX they have not received a notice for extension.

On September 16, Lawyers from Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, who represent the city in the casino process, said the IGB had been in contact about the proposal and asking questions.

Until the casino is approved, no construction can be done and the temporary location at Giovanni's on North Bell School Road cannot happen.

13 WREX will follow the virtual meeting and will have updates on Thursday.

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James Stratton

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