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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers approves Ho-Chunk Casino in Beloit

Design plans must be finalized and the land put into a trust before building can start.
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - A multi-million dollar entertainment facility — which includes a casino — moves closer to reality in Beloit.

With a signature from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, the city of Beloit moves closer to opening a $405 million entertainment facility.

“Particularly when you frame this up with the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that has had on the Beloit Community certainly on the Ho Chunk Nation community to be able to bring something positive forward at this point in time with the very real possibility of seeing this under construction within the next year,” said Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther.

The project includes a Ho-Chunk casino along with a hotel, convention center and a waterpark. It’s estimated the facility will get thousands of people back to work.

“Fifteen hundred permanent jobs once construction is complete and thousands of construction jobs for the completion of the project that’s going to be an enormous boost to our local economy,” Luther said.

While the big news in Beloit excites many, some Illinois lawmakers and area leaders express frustration as Rockford’s Hard Rock Casino proposal sits in a holding pattern.

“We warned about the fact that if we don’t move, Wisconsin is going to move quicker and if they get done and get open before ours people get used to going to one place and that makes it more difficult,” State Senator Dave Syverson said.

Beloit leaders say it’s unclear when construction crews will break ground on the project. Design plans must be finalized and the land put into a trust before building can start.

“We are aware that Ho-Chunk Nation’s Beloit Casino proposal is now moving on to the next stage in its approval process after passing through the Wisconsin Governor’s office,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara in a statement released Wednesday. “In Rockford, we remain focused on opening our Hard Rock Casino. Last month, 815 Entertainment, the operator of our Hard Rock Casino, passed an important hurdle by receiving a finding of preliminary suitability from the Illinois Gaming Board. We expect construction to start soon on the new temporary location inside Giovanni’s. We are excited to bring hundreds of construction and casino jobs to our area at a time when the pandemic has caused a significant increase in unemployment.”

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