ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rick Nielsen appeared at the grand opening of a new Hard Rock Casino information center in downtown Rockford on Thursday afternoon.
Cheap Trick guitarist Nielsen, along with his wife Karen, are partners with Hard Rock International, which hopes to open a new casino at the location previously occupied by the Clock Tower Resort, on E. State Street near the I-90 tollway.
Hard Rock International opened the Information Center, located at 308 W. State Street, to celebrate the city’s “815 Rockford Day.”
To mark the occasion, Hard Rock handed out Hard Rock Casino Rockford branded t-shirts and stickers.
Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said the casino would create 1,200 permanent jobs and another 1,000 during construction.
A group called the Rock River West Casino Group has also announced plans for a casino and aquarium in downtown Rockford.
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a gaming expansion bill into law on June 28, allowing a casino to be build in six areas in Illinois, including Rockford.
There are several steps Rockford needs to take in the next few months. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. on August 30th, ending with filing the applications with the Illinois Gaming Board by the end of October.
If a license is approved, McNamara believes a casino could be set up at a temporary site by the end of 2019, with the full casino to be built within 2 years.