Geno Iafrate, president and CEO of Hard Rock Rockford, gestures toward a line of people waiting to enter the interim casino on its opening day Nov. 10, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
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ROCKFORD  — Hard Rock has officially named Geno Iafrate as the president of its new Rockford Casino.

A Hard Rock Opening Act, the name for the interim casino at Bell School Road and East State Street, opened Nov. 10 to lines of people waiting to test their luck. It brought in more than $4.1 million in revenue in its first 22 days of operation, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.

“When I entered the casino industry two decades ago, Rockford was already well into its quest for a casino,” Iafrate said in a news release. “The city’s passion, pursuit and energy paid off, and I am excited to lead Hard Rock in being an active member of this community for years to come.”

Iafrate, a graduate of West Virginia University, began his career as an internal auditor with Caesars Entertainment and went on to run some of its most iconic brands including Flamingo Las Vegas, Rio Las Vegas and Horseshoe Bossier City.

Related: ‘We want everyone to win’: Rockford slot parlors, casino see room for both to succeed

After more than a decade with Caesars, Iafrate joined Pinnacle Entertainment as its executive vice president of regional operations overseeing Pinnacle’s five Southern properties. Most recently, he served as the president of the Westgate Las Vegas and senior vice president of operations for One Toronto Gaming in Canada.

Iafrate said his team and Hard Rock will continue to build partnerships with local employees, Rockford vendors and community organizations. The current casino and the permanent resort to be built one mile away at the former Clock Tower site near Interstate 90 are expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs and additional economic activity across the region and state.

Related: Want to bet on the big game? Here’s Hard Rock’s plans to add sports betting

The casino was approved as part of a gambling expansion bill signed into law in June 2019. Rockford was the first of six sites to receive state approval to open its doors.

The space at 610 N. Bell School Road features more than 37,000 square feet of gaming space and 625 slot machines and electronic table games. The casino is open 24/7.

Geno Iafrate is president of Hard Rock Rockford. (Photo provided by Hard Rock)
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