City of Rockford recommends Hard Rock International casino proposal

ROCKFORD (WREX) — After receiving three proposals for a Rockford Casino, the City of Rockford officially recommended the Hard Rock International Casino proposal to City Council.

Mayor Tom McNamara said in a press conference on Monday that the Hard Rock Casino proposal was “the most complete and sound proposal.”

Hard Rock wants to put a casino off I-90 and East State Street in the former site of the Clock Tower Resort.

Hard Rock said its name would draw global appeal as one of the most recognized brands in the world, which, developers say, would benefit what it call a “regional casino.”

The city staff says the Hard Rock proposal’s financing structure is credible. The proposal also includes
realistic and sustainable minimum gambling tax guarantees, along with additional revenue sharing payments to offset impacts to the City.

Hard Rock has agreed to a minimum payment of $7 million annually of gaming taxes to the City.

Hard Rock also agreed to additional revenue sharing payments, a portion of which will be used to offset impacts to Police, Fire, and Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence, and will also be applied toward economic development in disadvantaged areas of town, establishment of a philanthropic entity controlled by City Council, or other purposes as determined by the City.

“We know that a casino will bring hundreds of construction and permanent jobs, along with added revenue to help us continue the work of stabilizing our City’s finances both in the short term and long term. My responsibility as mayor, and that of our team and the City Council, was to select the proposal or proposals that had the BEST opportunity to provide the MOST benefits to Rockford,” explains Mayor McNamara.

Other proposals include a downtown location that would feature an aquarium and entertainment complex. The other development would go up off of Interstate 90 and Spring Creek Road, and would include a hotel, water park, golfing and entertainment complex, amphitheater, a housing development, retail space and a campground.

The city’s recommendation now goes to Rockford’s City Council. Council will meet Monday evening. We will provide more information on this and have full coverage of the casino proposal on 13 News at 5, 6 and 10.

Andrew Carrigan

Andrew Carrigan

Assignment Editor

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