It looks like Hard Rock International is jumping head-first into New Jersey’s online casino business as well as Atlantic City’s traditional land-based casino industry.
The company announced this week it has entered into a strategic partnership with iGaming technology company Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to build a new online casino in New Jersey.
The new licensed and regulated online gambling site will presumably operate under a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City internet gambling license in New Jersey. However, owners of the newly revamped Trump Taj Mahal property have yet to procure this license.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
In April 2017, Hard Rock International partnered with New Jersey property developers The Morris Family and construction and energy developers The Jingoli Family to buy the shuttered $1.2 billion Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City Boardwalk property for $50 million.
The group immediately announced plans for a $375 million renovation and re-branding. However, the price of the renovation has since ballooned to $500 million. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City gambling and entertainment complex will open in the summer.
Amenities will include a completely renovated and redesigned hotel filled with pieces from Hard Rock’s world renowned collection of music memorabilia. The property will also feature first-class food and beverage concepts and two separate arenas expected to host live music, sporting events, conferences, and shows. Plus, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will feature a casino built to compete with the biggest in town, hosting 2,400 slots and 130 table games.
Hard Rock looks to dominate online and off
Hard Rock clearly has its sites set on dominating the Atlantic City casino and hotel market. Now, it’s expanding that scope to include online gambling.
Hard Rock’s Online Gaming SVP Kresimir Spajic has his sights on nothing less than global leadership in the online gambling sphere:
“Hard Rock has an ambitious plan to become a global leader in the international online gaming space. We are confident that, together with GiG, we can disrupt the market, through product innovation and unique user experience.”
GiG CEO Robin Reed believes the Hard Rock brand will certainly help them get there:
“We are excited to be part of Hard Rock International’s inspiring and innovative plans to become a global leader in the international online gaming space. The online casino will be a stand-out product with the sizzle of the Hard Rock music, entertainment and lifestyle brand.”
The partnership will consists of GiG providing Hard Rock with what it calls “a state of the art digital consumer portal.” It will also provide the back-end platform to manage the operation.
The online casino will be developed by GiG’s design and development team in collaboration with Hard Rock. Hard Rock and GiG say the site will launch in 2018.
Third-party software partners?
Hard Rock will clearly be providing its recognizable branding and marketing for the site. The partners may also be looking for additional third-party software providers for its online casino games.
Several New Jersey online casinos have had success entering into partnerships with third-party online casino software providers including:
- Williams Interactive work with Tropicana and Virgin
- Bally Technologies provides online versions of popular land-based slots for Caesars, Borgata, Tropicana, and Virgin
- Digitally distributed gaming systems supplier NetEnt works with several groups, including PokerStars.
- Popular casino gaming company and slots designer and developer IGT works with every site but 888.
- Online and land-based slots developer NextGen entered New Jersey via a PokerStars partnership last year.
- Video game and online gaming developer Konami teamed with SugarHouse to launch exclusive online titles.
- Gaming software designer Aristocrat supplies titles to several sites, like Mohegan Sun
It could also be seeking more of the turnkey solution online gaming software platform suppliers like GAN or PlayTech offer. Although that seems less likely, considering GiG’s promise to provide its own consumer portal, back-end platform, and site design.
GiG has also announced it has begun the application process for a Casino Service Industry Enterprise License in New Jersey.