Thank you, everyone, who attended the private presentation of the plan for the Waterpower Entertainment District! For the folks who were unable to be there with us,  the following is a highlight of news stories carried throughout the region. Take a look and hear the compelling story of why a downtown casino will be good for all constituents in the Rockford community.

Thursday, September 12th, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center, (the former Amerock building) at 416 South Main Street, organizers of the Rock River West Casino Group showcased the ideas and goals for the Waterpower Entertainment District and Casino. The group has plans for the Downtown Casino and the Rockford Aquarium on the west side of the Rock River at the Waterpower District.

Ron Clewer, Illinois Market President of Gorman & Company, said, “We want to truly create a package of performance and entertainment in our downtown core that gets marketed as a whole. It’s not just about a casino. It’s about advancing the greatest economic impact for our community with an entertainment district adjacent to our downtown.”


Supporters of the downtown casino location state that ‘it would help accelerate economic opportunities and add more jobs in the West side of Rockford. Rockford philanthropist Jim Keeling liked what he heard at the presentation. “I personally feel the city should certify both of these because it is up to the state gaming board to decide in the end anyway,” he said. They add that the combination of the walkable area and nearby businesses will further create a beneficial environment.’ The riverfront casino would anchor the entertainment district and be linked to its attractions by pedestrian walkways leading to the hotel, Davis Park and to a train station that would bring in thousands of visitors from Chicagoland.


Embassy Suites General Manager Fred DeLarosa said, “the four-star 160-room hotel and conference center is 80% complete and is still on schedule to open April 1.” He also stated the hotel and conference center alone will hire 204 people. With these large amounts of daily visitors, the casino at the Waterpower Entertainment District will drive high volumes of foot traffic into the surrounding areas.

This added downtown foot traffic is why placing the new casino downtown makes sense. The downtown area is already teeming with new life – businesses and venues that would appeal to the tourist and locals alike – and an already established walkable street grid. The combination of the walkable area and eager downtown businesses with a casino creates a mutually beneficial ecosystem, sparkling with possibility.

Below are a few salient points that resonated with individuals in the audience. As you reflect on these six important economic and job drivers for our community please consider sharing this with your friends, colleagues, and family members. Once again thank you for your support and continued consideration for advocating for a Downtown Casino at  the Waterpower Entertainment District

  • The Illinois bill calls for the maximum economic impact and jobs potential.
  • Our casino proposal provides more jobs due to the creation of the entertainment district as well as the moving of Piranha Fab.
  • Our casino creates greater economic impact and teases us up for the potential redevelopment of Barbara Coleman and the railyards across the street.
  • Our casino proposal is leveraging the investments our city, county, and private sector have made in our downtown.
  • Our casino will not compete against the Coronado or BMO Harris Bank Center. It will enter into an agreement to help promote the RAVE venues to drive tourism and entertainment revenue.
  • This proposal provides a partnership with downtown businesses for the co-promotion of downtown and by providing complimentary meals and drinks in local establishments paid for by the casino.

News Articles Here:


WIFR- Business leaders take private tour of Embassy Suites Hotel

Rockford Register Star- Gorman makes pitch for downtown Rockford casino – Group behind proposed Rockford casino and aquarium makes pitch to neighboring businesses

Sept. 23rd: A public hearing will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St. City

After September 30th: City Council certifies proposal or proposals.

Oct. 25-26th: City sends one or more proposals to Illinois Gaming Board.