Rockford native son Rick Nielsen, guitarist for Cheap Trick, lobby for a casino in his hometown. [Facebook/ State Sen. Steve Stadelman]

There are plenty of cities around Illinois that have long jockeyed for a casino after the first nine were built in the early 1990s, and the 10th was established in Des Plaines a decade ago. But perhaps no city’s struggle for a casino is more representative of the years of pent-up angst at play during the final weeks of spring legislative session than Rockford.

The city drafted Rockford’s very own Rick Nielsen, guitarist for Cheap Trick, to spend a day in Springfield lobbying for a Rockford casino in between selfies with fans. It’s also got a robust lobbying effort hammering home the message that the time for a casino is now — especially with a threat from across the Illinois border.

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