History will be made when Hard Rock International breaks ground in Rockford. This is assuming the Illinois Gaming Board approves Hard Rock's Rockford's proposal.

After several weeks of media attention, community events, and press conferences, Rockfordians now know which casino could possibly pop up in Rockford. And, kudos to all three groups for putting in hard work with elaborate proposals involving the one and only casino to come to the Forest City, especially the Nielsen family. Some are not happy with the results but it's hard to argue with hitting the jackpot and getting a Hard Rock in the 815, especially in place of what was once of the most iconic landmarks in Rockford. In place of the clock tower will (likely) be a 110-foot replica Rick Nielsen guitar with a Hard Rock logo.

Here's what the tentative plans are moving forward.


  • Casino applications filed with Illinois Gaming Board by October 25.
  • If awarded a casino license, Hard Rock will spend $8 million to turn Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center into a 37,790-square-foot temporary casino with 736 slot machines and a Rock Shop. (Alchemy and Legacy would remain open.)
  • Hard Rock International would break ground at I-90/E. State making way for a casino with restaurants, a Rock Shop, Hard Rock Live! music venue, and more.
  • Hard Rock International would make community contributions through Rockford Park District, Rockford Police and Fire Departments, Rockford Promise, Rockford Family Peace Center, RAVE, RACVB, and establish a "Hard Rock 815 Community Foundation" supporting local charities/causes.


  • Giovanni's converts back into a banquet facility once Hard Rock Rockford is complete.
  • Construct a hotel and parking garage.

Watch the proposal shared at Coronado Performing Arts Center on September 23.

Congratulations to Rockford for embracing what will be a positive improvement to our city.

JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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