Hard Rock Launches Joint Venture For Sports Betting And Internet Gaming

Hard Rock International on Monday announced the launching of Hard Rock Digital, a joint venture that will serve as its vehicle for both sports betting and internet gaming on both a national (such as in Virginia) and international scale.

Hard Rock Digital will eventually provide an “omni-channel offering for interactive gaming and sports betting,” leveraging the databases of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming. Those databases contain more than 130 million customers from its 250 land-based venues spanning 76 countries. The joint venture will be fully funded by Hard Rock International, Seminole Gaming, and its partners.

“With the launch of Hard Rock Digital, we are broadening our digital business which enhances consumer experiences and offerings across our interactive gaming and sportsbook offerings,” said Jim Allen, chairman of HRI. “Hard Rock Digital also intends to pursue strategic branding and distribution opportunities both within the U.S. and globally. In the U.S. alone, the potential future market size is estimated at $7 billion for sports betting and $14 billion for online gaming.”

The future market size projections Allen referenced came from Morgan Stanley for 2025.

Who’s leading the team

Hard Rock Digital will be managed by gaming industry leaders Rafi Ashkenazi, executive managing director and executive chair; Marlon Goldstein, executive managing director and CEO; and Matt Primeaux, executive managing director and president.

Ashkenazi, the former CEO of The Stars Group, will officially join Hard Rock Digital in 2021 following a garden leave period. Goldstein was executive vice president, chief legal officer of The Stars Group from 2014 until July, and Primeaux was president of FOX Bet for 15 months from May 2019 to July 2020 as part of a joint venture with The Stars Group.

“We are honored to join forces with Hard Rock International on this new venture,” Goldstein said. “Hard Rock International is consistently at the forefront of innovation and vision in the gaming industry and the ‘Hard Rock’ gaming, hospitality and entertainment venues are iconic worldwide. We look forward to providing an authentic, digital experience for Hard Rock’s global fan base within a comprehensive, omni-channel offering.”

The landing page for Hard Rock Digital directs to a webpage with a list of available job positions, with the appearance that its sportsbook platform will be based in Austin, Texas. Hard Rock’s headquarters are in Hollywood, Fla., and the company operates sportsbooks in New Jersey, Iowa, and Mississippi.

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