The state of Illinois has had an interesting few years when it comes to betting. Online sports betting officially launched in 2020, although the COVID-19 pandemic certainly slowed down the process. For a short time, online sportsbook registration was paused, pumping the brakes on the betting scene in the state. However, since its online registration return in March 2022, Illinois sports wagering came roaring back, with the third-highest handle throughout the first six months of the year.
The Illinois casino industry has also thrived, putting up some big numbers and planning for a major future. Here’s how one Illinois casino is putting up some record numbers as the state develops its casino gaming future.
Hard Rock IL Casino Sees Record-Breaking 45,000 Guests
When the temporary Hard Rock: An Opening Act casino opened up near the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, few likely saw any major numbers coming in as the location developed. However, they’ve been proven wrong, as the July numbers are in on the stopgap casino. The Illinois Gaming Board has announced that over 45,000 different guests visited Hard Rock: An Opening Act in July.
This is the highest amount of traffic the casino has seen since it originally opened in November 2021 in Rockford. Since the start of the year, the casino has been responsible for over $1 million in tax revenue, which is being used for the city’s community resources.
The temporary casino became available to the public on November 10th, 2021, featuring restaurants, a retail store, and plenty of casino games and slot machines. Hard Rock: An Opening Act is ultimately acting as a placeholder for the future launch of a full casino resort.
The entire process is expected to take roughly two years, meaning we could see the full Hard Rock Rockford casino resort by November of 2023. Considering the amount of guests the interim casino has seen in the meantime, it looks as though the new Hard Rock casino will be a huge hit.
BIG MONEY: The Illinois Gaming Board released its monthly casino report, and Rockford Casino: A Hard Rock Opening Act is cashing in. https://t.co/yfAK6lJnGB
— 23 WIFR (@23WIFR) December 9, 2021
More Casinos Coming to the Land of Lincoln
The Illinois casino scene has certainly changed over the years. Previously, there were only seven different retail casinos available in the state. But now that number is up to 11 different physical casino locations, including Hard Rock: An Opening Act in Rockford, Par-A-Dice Casino, Grand Victoria Casino, Rivers Des Plaines, Argosy Casino Alton, and Hollywood Casino Aurora.
Plus, five additional casinos are looking to break ground in the state in the coming years. Probably the biggest of these projects is the opening of Bally’s Chicago casino, which is slated for a 2025 launch.
Chicago’s Ballys will serve as a catalyst for many large-scale economic developments to come and will accelerate our city's post-pandemic recovery. So many families, businesses and labor unions, will directly benefit from this historic investment.
— Lori Lightfoot (@LoriLightfoot) May 26, 2022
Are Online Casinos Coming To Illinois?
At the moment, Illinois online casinos aren’t available. However, that could change sooner rather than later. The Illinois online sports betting industry has been very successful thus far, which could pave the way for mobile casino gaming.
Additionally, the tax revenue seen from physical casinos in the Land of Lincoln should spark a larger conversation on the potential for online casino gaming in the area. Illinois bettors could be able to play blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat right from their smart devices before you know it.