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City Of Rockford Launches Application Process For New Casino

Chase Cavanaugh

Rockford is moving ahead with its plans to build a casino after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an expanded gambling bill into law Friday.

Mayor Tom McNamara says the city has 120 days from the bill’s signing to submit applications for the casino’s location and operator to the Illinois Gaming Board.  McNamara says the city is working to get its Request for Proposals out by July 4th.

“If we can get it out by Monday, that would be even more spectacular. But it’s a tight timeframe," he said. "A lot of work needs to go into this, obviously, because you’ve got one shot at this.”

Once an application is certified by the city and approved by the Illinois Gaming Board, McNamara says the casino will set up shop in a temporary location while the permanent casino is being built.

"Probably the earliest you’d see [a casino] is right before the end of this year or right at the beginning of next year for a temporary setting. And then probably two years later [for a permanent facility] - I’m assuming an 18-24 month construction period," he said.

The city can submit multiple applications for a location and operator to the Gaming Board, but only one party will ultimately get the casino license.