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How will plans for Rockford casino affect Ho-Chunk casino project in Beloit?

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How will plans for Rockford casino affect Ho-Chunk casino project in Beloit?

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BELOIT, Wis. - The state of Illinois is authorizing a license for a new casino in Rockford, calling into question how a long-anticipated casino project will fare in Beloit.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a package of bills Friday expanding gaming in the state and authorizing licenses for new casinos in Rockford and five other Illinois cities.

Each of the casinos will be privately owned. The proposed casino in Rockford will be allowed to have up to 2,000 positions. The project is expected to create more than 1,500 construction and full-time permanent jobs, according to a news release from Pritzker's office

The casino proposed for Beloit is a concept that's been in the works for several years and is nearing its final stages of approval. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs can issue a record of decision for the Ho-Chunk Nation project starting Monday. After that, the deal would head to Gov. Tony Evers, and his office has said he'll "carefully review" it.

Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther issued a statement saying, "We eagerly anticipate a final determination from the Bureau of Indian Affairs this summer and hope for a concurrence from Governor Evers."

So how will the Rockford project affect the Beloit project?

Ryan Greendeer, public relations officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation, said the nation has been studying the Rockford proposal for some time.

"Anytime that they put something else up there that's doing some of the same things that we are, it probably will have at least a slight effect," Greendeer said.

He wants to stress that their project is more than a casino, calling it a "premier entertainment destination." 

"(Rockford is) going to be putting in some machines, and they're going to be putting in some tables. They're not going to have the ancillary activities," Greendeer said.

Curtis Luther said, "We are focused on what needs to be accomplished to bring this resort to Beloit and with it, 1,500 jobs and revenue opportunities for the state, county and city, and not on our neighbors in Illinois."

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said the city will issue a request for proposals Monday outlining requirements for the casino in his city. That response will be due by the end of the month, according to a news release from the city.

The mayor said the applications for the Rockford casino have to be filed with the Illinois Gaming Board before Oct. 25.

McNamara said the construction project for the casino could bring up to 600 jobs, while the casino itself could employ 1,100 workers, according to CBS affiliate WIFR.

Greendeer said he believes the difference between the two projects is how invested the Ho-Chunk Nation is in Beloit and Rock County.

"We think that people want to come to Beloit and see all the things that Beloit has to offer, not just play some cards on a table," he said.

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Read more https://www.channel3000.com/news/how-will-proposed-rockford-casino-affect-ho-chunk-casino-project-in-beloit-/1090197114

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