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Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act opens to the public

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:44 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A big day for the Forest City as the Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act is officially open to business. It’s a project several years in the making and now local residents are ready to take a gamble on Rockford.

Customers have been flowing in and out all day with some even sporting new cash they have already won at the temporary casino. Customers have Lori Johnson and her mom are some of those customers. They usually travel out of state to get their gambling fix. Lori says she will be thrilled to spend her money in Rockford.

Lori says, “We’re happy. If we can just win today we’ll be even happier.” Her mom says she likes poker machines, which will come at a later date to the permanent casino that will be built one mile east of the temporary location.

Hundreds of customers lined up outside just before the 11 a.m. grand opening with some putting their sights on the food options. Velvet Robot Coffee Lab owner Justin Carner is one of those people and is eager to see what new culinary delights come with the new casino. He says, “Hopefully it’s good. Hopefully, it gives another culinary option to Rockford, maybe bring some good steaks, something like that to replace Legacy and the different things that were here before.”

The Rock River Valley does have several small gambling parlors but Justin says nothing beats a Hard Rock Casino. “We’re hard Rockford baby, we’re hard Rockford so absolutely, and we’re Cheap Trick, right, we’re a part of Rock-N-Roll history,” Justin says.

City leaders say the Forest City is ready to make visitors and local gamblers feel right at home. Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara says, “This is just the beginning, it’s the opening act. I can’t wait to further our partnership with Hard Rock International and the local 815 team. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful work that you’ve done.”

The casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the former Giovanni’s. It will feature two unique restaurants, a pop-up retail shop and more than 8,500 square feet of gaming space. This will include 635 slots and electronic gaming tables.

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