Rockford Lawmaker Pushes Local Casino To Compete With Wisconsin Proposal

Dec 22, 2017

Beloit could soon have a new casino in its backyard, but some Illinois lawmakers worry it would detract from business in the Rockford area.

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The city of Beloit and the Ho-Chunk Nation are joining forces for a more-than $405 million proposal.

Dave Syverson is a Republican State Senator from Rockford.

“The concerns that we’ve raised are coming true and this thing will move forward," he said. "The question is whether or not it could be delayed or reduced in size is the only thing we could hope for from an economic standpoint.”

Syverson argues the proposed casino's amenities, like an indoor water park, a hotel and convention center would draw people away from Rockford's convention centers and other businesses.

State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford)
Credit ilga.gov

His suggestion is for Illinois House lawmakers to give a green light to gaming legislation. 

Syverson says competition would still be stiff because Wisconsin casinos tend to pay lower taxes, but he says it's the best shot to keep revenue in Illinois.

“It would give people in northern Illinois a choice," he said. "Would you prefer to keep your dollars in Illinois and go to Rockford, or would you want to go to Beloit and leave your money?”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker could take up the casino proposal in 2019.