Operators have been lining up to put in their application to receive a sports betting license in the state of Illinois. You can now add Hard Rock to that list as they are the latest gaming operators to put in an application. As seen on the Illinois Gaming Board website, Hard Rock Sportsbook has applied for both a mobile and retail license. These applications will now sit on the stack of other applications that the Illinois Gaming Board now has to go through. The Florida-housed entertainment and gaming giant submitted its license application on August 23.
A Long Line For Illinois
815 Entertainment was the one who officially submitted the application, as they are the local ownership group for the Hard Rock Casino located in Rockford. It is clear that Hard Rock’s status as an applicant is solidified by the fact that an applicant must submit all completed application material to the Illinois Gaming Board. However, the regulator has not yet given Hard Rock its approval. Located near the Wisconsin border, Hard Rock has begun the preparation process to break ground on a static venue for their Rockford casino. For the time being, the entertainment and gaming giant has been operating out of a temporary casino at the same spot starting in November of 2021. Currently, the temporary location has only slots and electronic gaming devices.
Seminole Hard Rock Digital, the online arm of the Hard Rock enterprise, has previously applied for the Management Service Provider permit. This is a requirement in the state of Illinois for a mobile license. Hard Rock Digital provided the relevant materials on August 16 in order to join the list, which continues to grow, of operators trying to get a new license.
As of this moment, the sports bettors in Illinois have seven different operators that they can currently use, but this number should increase moving forward. Unibet, who put in their application in November of 2020, has been waiting in line for over a year. WynnBET also put in their application in November, however, that was November of 2021. Circa and Bally Bet as well have put in applications this year, one in May and the other in September, respectively.
Hard Rock Future Plans
Beyond the online product, Hard Rock’s plans in the state of Illinois also include opening up a permanent Rockford casino location which is set to open in November of 2023. It was just in early September that the Illinois Gaming Board gave approval for utilities and foundational work to begin. The casino will be built on the former site of the Clock Tower Resort. Starting in November of 2021, the temporary casino had generated just over $25 million dollars in revenue, according to the state’s regulators.
The COO of Hard Rock International, Jon Lucas, said that what they’ve accomplished thus far in Rockford has been wildly successful. With that being said, he and the rest of the Rockford community are even more excited to see the casino launch from its temporary state. Based on what the Rockford community has shown already a temporary location has exceeded the company’s expectations. Hard Rock hopes to build on the momentum that the temporary casino has gained and start the next phase of its expansion.
There is some additional competition in the area, however. The Ho-Chunk Nation is planning on launching its own $400 million casino in the nearby town of Beloit, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin-based casino would be less than 25 miles away from the new Rockford-based Hard Rock casino.