By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
Get our newsletter
ROCKFORD — The Rockford casino raked in more than $4.1 million during its first 22 days in operation, according to the first figures on A Hard Rock Opening Act released by the Illinois Gaming Board.
The casino, which opened Nov. 10 at 610 N. Bell School Road, had 41,637 admissions in November. Its parking lot has been bustling with customers almost every day since it opened.
“That’s good for the city of Rockford’s coffers,” Mayor Tom McNamara said during a news conference last month.
Related: ‘We want everyone to win’: Rockford slot parlors, casino see room for both to succeed
The city’s share of the revenue reaped in November is $248,935, and the state receives $497,870. Rockford officials have already committed $1.5 million in revenue coming from the casino to Rockford Promise, which provides full-tuition scholarships to qualified Rockford Public Schools graduates.
“We have increased the number of kids from Rockford Public Schools going to NIU by 380%,” McNamara said last month. “The program is off to a great start.”
The first 22 days of revenue would put the casino on pace to deliver more money to the city than expected. McNamara said his administration had estimated roughly $1.5 million to $2 million annually from the interim casino. It would reap roughly $3 million in 12 months based on the numbers reported in November.
The city hasn’t determined how it will spend casino revenue that comes in over the $1.5 million committed to Rockford Promise.
“Right now, anything above and beyond, we have not allocated,” McNamara said last month. “So it would just go into the general fund until we allocate those resources. I think we’ll probably do that once we get a little be closer toward that permanent casino.”
Related: Want to bet on the big game? Here’s Hard Rock’s plans to add a sports book in Rockford
The interim casino built inside the former Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center is expected to operate for two years while the permanent resort is built on the former Clock Tower site. Once the permanent resort opens, about $7.5 million in revenue is guaranteed to the city, per its host city agreement with Hard Rock.
Rockford’s casino ranked ninth out of the state’s 11 casinos in terms of revenue, and operated for eight fewer days. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines reaps the most revenue with more than $40 million.
This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas.