Veteran gaming and hospitality professional Geno Iafrate has been named president of Hard Rock Entertainment’s new Rockford Casino in Rockford, Illinois. According to WIFR-TV, under Iafrate’s leadership, in 60 days of operation, the casino is already “an economic driver for the Stateline.”
“When I entered the casino industry two decades ago, Rockford was already well into its quest for a casino,” Iafrate said. “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.”
The current temporary casino, known as the “Opening Act,” will be replaced by a permanent Hard Rock facility being built just one mile away at the site of the former Clock Tower Hotel. The resort is expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs for the region.
Iafrate, a graduate of West Virginia University, began his career as an internal auditor with Caesars Entertainment and ran some of the company’s most iconic brands including Flamingo Las Vegas, Rio Las Vegas and Horseshoe Bossier City. Following more than a decade with Caesars, Iafrate joined Pinnacle Entertainment, where he served as the executive vice president of regional operations overseeing Pinnacle’s five Southern properties.
Most recently, he served as president of the Westgate Las Vegas and senior vice president of operations for One Toronto Gaming in Canada.
The Rockford casino began development after Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker passed the gaming expansion bill in 2019. Rockford is the first of six sites to receive licensing approval and open its doors. The temporary facility is open 24 hours a day and offers more than 625 slots and electronic table games, two restaurants and a pop-up retail shop featuring Hard Rock merchandise.