After the breakdown in their contract with the Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), Hard Rock International have announced that Scientific Games will power their online casino channel and sportsbook for the foreseeable future.
The firm’s OpenGaming solution will be incorporated into their site, delivering Scientific’s trademark quality across blackjack, roulette, baccarat and many other game variants as well as their renowned account management system. Their OpenSports platform will power the online and retail sports betting channel.
Customers of Hard Rock can expect the changes to implemented during the first quarter of 2021, and a new interface for the casino site is expected to be unveiled. Senior VP for Online Betting and Gaming, Kresimir Spajic, said: “The launch of OpenGaming in New Jersey allows us to expand our already strong casino offering in the state.
“These are exciting times for Hard Rock International as we bring even more entertaining experiences to our loyal customer base.”
End of an Era
On the face of it, the partnership between Hard Rock and GiG was going swimmingly. There had been a significant upswing in revenue in 2020 (up to the beginning of the crisis), and their online casino platform was growing nicely in the states in which it is available.
The casino went live in January 2019 to compliment the brand’s sports offerings in New Jersey, Iowa and beyond, and the general consensus has been that the final product was a strong addition to the sector.
However, an inability to strike a commercial agreement – i.e. they fell out over how much GiG would be paid – has led to their contract being terminated with immediate effect. GiG will now seek new opportunities in the U.S. casino sector.
Spajic said: “We are thankful to GiG for helping us take our first steps in the regulated US online gaming and sports betting market. Together we have achieved notable results and launched significant innovations.”
A Dog’s Dinner
As you may be aware, Hard Rock have a number of business concerns, from their award-winning casino and sportsbook to their global restaurant chain.
And as if to prove the ever-growing popularity of casino gaming, the chairman of Hard Rock International, Jim Allen, confirmed it was their gaming side that was keeping their business model afloat. “The real challenging area is the restaurants. There’s no other way to describe it than it is struggling,” he said. “Frankly, we’re barely open in some markets, and obviously with tremendous reductions in capacity.
“One of the great things about the Hard Rock brand is its eclectic nature, to be able to navigate through different business segments. Certainly, this year will not be a good year when we look at the total results.”
One of the ‘business segments’ that Allen refers to is the successful Hard Rock casino site, which achieved a remarkable milestone of $1 million in monthly gross revenue just four months after launching in 2018, with exponential growth since.
So next time you’re tucking into your burger and fries or spare ribs in a Hard Rock chain, raise a toast to the brand’s online casino – you’ve got that site to thank for the restaurants remaining open.