Hard Rock Reveals Investors Behind $311m Illinois Casino

  • Residents criticized the local city council and Hard Rock for keeping list of investors confidential
  • Local newspaper sought the release of these names under the Freedom of Information Act
  • A total of 53 parties have made an investment in this $311m casino project
the Guitar Hotel at sunset
Hard Rock has released a list of investors behind its ambitious $311m casino project in Rockford, Illinois. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Investors revealed

Hard Rock International has released the names of investors behind its ambitious $311m casino project in Rockford, Illinois.

This public announcement follows a lot of public criticism after the Rockford City Council decided to keep the names of those who have invested in the project confidential.

A total of 53 parties have invested to date. The company leading this casino proposal is 815 Entertainment LLC. This is the corporation that was created in order to bring together the casino operator, Hard Rock, the project’s developer, and the investors under a single entity.

Confidentiality advised

The reason the list of investors was kept private was due to advice the city council received from casino consultants. These consultants advised the council to keep the list of investors confidential, as this was specifically requested by Hard Rock.

consultants advised the council to keep the list of investors confidential

What paved the way for the release of these names was an appeal by local newspaper The Rockford Register Star. An earlier decision was made to deny its request to see the names of investors through the Freedom of Information Act. This appeal was still being considered by the state’s Attorney General’s office when the Hard Rock released the records.

Opposition to casino project

Following a vote on October 7, city council gave the green light for this new casino project.

Only one city official opposed this new facility. This was Linda McNeely, whose area was not promised any money from the casino facility. She also led the case to make the list of investors public knowledge, stating that local residents wanted to know what people and parties will benefit from this major development.

the list of investors should have accompanied to company’s casino license application

The newspaper went on to quote a local resident and former criminal defense attorney, Dan Cain. He said that the list of investors should have accompanied to company’s casino license application, stating that “secrecy only raises suspicion”.

Ambitious plans

As part of a recent statewide gambling expansion plan, a number of new casino facilities will be developed across the state.

The Hard Rock’s proposal aims to build the new casino close to the entrance to Interstate 90. It would have a 65,000 square foot casino floor. There would also be an event venue that seats 1,600 people, as well as a Hard Rock Cafe.

In the beginning, there would be about 1,500 gaming machines and 55 table games. These numbers could increase as the project develops. There will also be a number of restaurants, and cafes on-site, as well as a sportsbook.

In the future, there may be plans to create a 225-room hotel. However, this will not be done in the initial phases of the development.

Approval required

The proposal still needs to get approval following a review from the Illinois Gaming Board. The Hard Rock is still preparing this application, which will contain more than 10,000 pages.

A $250,000 application fee is in place for operators vying for a casino license in Illinois. There is also a $50,000 fee that covers all forms of background checks.