Illinois: Hard Rock unveils new images of permanent Rockford casino, sets August 2024 opening date

Hard Rock Casino Rockford officials appeared in front of the Illinois Gaming Board Thursday morning and unveiled new images of their planned permanent casino resort, to occupy more than 187,000-square-foot and set to be located at 7801 E. State St. near the Interstate 90 exit.

The company also requested an extension for its temporary location, as it works on completing the full project. The permanent resort is expected to open in August 2024.

The board approved the extension request on the temporary location, allowing the company to keep the Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act, located at 610 Bell School Road, open until November 2024.

As reported by the company, construction at the former Clock Tower Resort is on schedule, with the concrete roof slated to be installed later this month. Located on about 22 acres, the new images display the casino’s close ties to Rockford’s Hall of Fame band Cheap Trick.

Images show a 90-foot tall replica of Rockford legend and Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen’s signature checkerboard guitar front and center at the entryway. An inscription can be seen on the building reading “I want you to want me,” Cheap Trick’s famous song, in all caps. Moreover, as seen in the images, the building will be surrounded by a wide parking lot with 1,800 spaces.

Construction is expected to wrap up ahead of a grand opening in the summer of 2024. The company expects to bring gaming equipment into the site in May 2024 and open the permanent facility in late August 2024. 

The temporary casino opened in November 2021, and business has been good, with gamblers having visited the property 794,203 times and spent more than $91 million after accounting for winnings. Its three best months of revenue have come since March.