Hard Rock Announces Joint Venture for Interactive Gaming and Sports Betting Product

On Monday, 14 December 2020, Hard Rock International announced Hard Rock Digital’s launching to serve as a playground for its sports betting and internet gaming on a national and international level. Hard Rock Digital will use one channel and leverage the Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming database to provide interactive gaming and sports betting.

The companies’ database contains over 130 million customers from 250 land-based gaming venues across 76 countries. The collaboration, Hard Rock Digital, will be funded by Seminole Gaming, Hard Rock International, and other partners. The new venture will report to a newly formed Board of Directors chaired by Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International.

Ideally, Hard Rock Digital is a combination of Seminole companies with three online gaming and sports gambling executives. The collaboration is a partnership with Rafi Ashkenazi, a former CEO of the Stars Group. Also included in the partnership are former Chief Legal Officer for Stars Group and retired FOX Bet President Matthew Primeaux.

Hard Rock owns five casinos in five states with legal sports betting, including New Jersey, Nevada, Mississippi, Lowa, and Illinois. These states, except Mississippi, allow mobile sports gambling. The company also owns another branch at Atlantic City that offers online casino games, including table and slot machine games. Hard Rock is currently in another partnership with Scientific Games in a venture to igaming and sports betting. The brand hasn’t commented about terminating the contract even after developing the Hard Rock Digital venture.

Hard Rock Digital Venture Comes When Internet Betting Is Offsetting Revenue Loss

The United States residents are maintaining strict health regulations to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Some of these restrictions, including staying at home, not traveling, and the closure of various recreational centers such as casinos. Those operating are doing so under reduced levels. While the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine is underway, it might not reach the public until February. This means gross gaming revenue collection from land-based gaming platforms will continue to plunge.

According to the American gaming association, the gross gaming revenue had dropped by 38 percent in 2020, while table games win have reduced by 43 percent. However, gaming platforms that offer legal online gaming markets have offset some of their losses with their land-based facilities. By September, the iGaming GGR had increased by 206 percent, while sports gambling wins had risen by 27 percent.

Moreover, the market is predicted to expand up to $7 billion in the sports gambling niche and $14 billion in other online gaming niches, making it the best time for the Hard Rock Digital venture the right move.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Led to Increase in Sports and iGaming Market Share

Slot machine games and table games (legacy gaming) are the main games played in land-based casinos. These games took up 99 percent of the gaming market share in 2017 and were reduced to 95 percent in 2019. Sports betting took up 3.4 percent while igaming 1.5 percent. Following the coronavirus pandemic, the numbers have improved, whereby the legacy games have decreased by 80 percent due to the closure of casino facilities. In contrast, igaming and sports gambling market share have surged.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.