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

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Hard-Rock

ROCKFORD (WREX) -- After more than a year of waiting, Rockford's Hard Rock Casino is back on the Illinois Gaming Board's meeting agenda, but not for final approval.

The gaming board is set to meet Wednesday morning. Rockford's Hard Rock Casino will make a public presentation on why it should receive a license approval from the board, called a Preliminary Suitability Presentation.

Topics that will be covered include, that Hard Rock has met all licensing requirements, its background and reputation, business competence, experience to hold a license and the adequate funding sources for the project, the City of Rockford tells 13 WREX.

“The Hard Rock Rockford team eagerly anticipates presenting its plan to the Illinois Gaming Board on Wednesday and is confident in the proposal and its success for the Northern Illinois region," said Pam Maher, Spokesperson for Hard Rock Casino, Rockford. "We’re grateful for the continued support from the Rockford community and can’t wait to get this exciting, highly anticipated project moving forward to benefit the region.”

“We are confident in our Hard Rock partners and the proposal they have put forth,” said Mayor Tom McNamara on the city's Facebook page. “The road to bringing a Rockford casino has certainly been long, but we are optimistic our proposal will be approved at each step so we can turn our long-awaited vision into reality.”

The Wednesday presentation comes more than a year after Rockford and Hard Rock sent their application for a license to the Illinois Gaming Board. By law, the IGB had until October 28, 2020 to approve it. Instead, it gave itself a six-month extension.

"Like all private government agencies and private businesses, the board's work has been impacted by COVID-19" said IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter in an October 29 board meeting. "This is not an excuse or a crutch, it is simply an acknowledgement that work and life are different in a global pandemic."

Until the casino is approved, no construction can happen at the proposed site on East State Street and Interstate 90, and the temporary location at Giovanni's on North Bell School Road cannot happen.

The gaming board is set to meet again on March 10 and April 21, both in the six-month timeframe the gaming board gave itself to approve Rockford's casino.

James Stratton

James Stratton is the Evening Anchor at 13 WREX and reports for 13 Investigates He joined the team in August, 2018 after working at KWQC TV-6 in Davenport Iowa. His work in Illinois and Iowa has been awarded in both states, along with Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Awards at 13 WREX.

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