Poker not in the cards for proposed Hard Rock Casino

Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 6:48 PM CDT
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While poker remains a popular game in the casino world, gamblers will need to find another place for live poker tables as the soon-to-be Hard Rock Casino Rockford will not have a live poker room with tables.

Hard Rock International plans to apply for the only available Rockford casino license from the Illinois Gaming Board by the end of the month. If it does get approved by the Board, they plan on building a $310 million development that includes 65,000 square feet of casino space, without live poker tables.

James Kasputis of the Rockford Charitable Games Association says one of the biggest reasons that casinos nowadays are not utilizing live poker rooms is because they take up space. He says, "In Illinois, you're limited to 2000 positions and that's new, currently it's 1200 positions. So a poker table is 10 positions a slot machine is one position. So they have to give up 10 slot machines to replace one poker table, so the math is not very good."

Poker also doesn't bring in as much money when compared to slow machines ot other table games. Kasputis says, "At 200 slot machines, you can make $15 million a year. If you have 200 poker tables, you might make $3 million a year, based on average revenue from those tables."

But you can still play poker weekly here in the Stateline, even for a good cause with the Rockford Charitable Games Association. Kasputis also says that should the soon-to-be Hard Rock expand, it's entirely possible they add live poker. Hard Rock International has other live poker rooms at their properties around the country.

He says, "When they can have more positions, which will happen a couple of years down the road, they'll probably add poker. Hard Rock really loves poker. Their 2 properties in Florida in Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale, there are big Hard Rock Casinos there. They have huge poker rooms, they do big million dollar tournaments, million dollar tournaments there."