The Hard Rock Atlantic City has sealed a deal with the Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to launch a new online casino for the New Jersey market.
According to GiG, CEO Robin Reed knew the casino will have the familiar “sizzle of the Hard Rock music, entertainment and lifestyle brand” of the casino and café chain, and is expected to launch sometime this year.
Last week, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement revealed the Hard Rock, which is scheduled to open for the summer season, had applied for a remote gaming license, along with fellow newcomer to the market, Ocean Resort.
The Hard Rock Atlantic City was until recently known as the Trump Taj Mahal before it was acquired last year by Hard Rock International for $300 million. The property has undergone a complete rebranding – out go the domes, spires and minarets that once stirred the soul of a 40-something Donald Trump, and in come the giant electric guitars and rock memorabilia.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns Hard Rock International and its very successful chain casino properties in its home state and elsewhere, but the partnership with Malta-based GiG represents its first foray into the world of real-money online gaming. And with sports betting for New Jersey possibly just around the corner, it’s an exciting time to be joining the market.
As a precursor to its real money ambitions, Hard Rock announced last week it had rolled freemium online social gaming at its 11 properties throughout the US and Canada.
Hard Rock Atlantic City Aims Big
Meanwhile, Kresimir Spajic, senior vice-president of Online Gaming at Hard Rock, hinted that the company’s long-term ambitions for online gaming go far beyond social gaming, and beyond New Jersey.
Hard Rock has an ambitious plan to become a global leader in the international online gaming space,” he said. “We are confident that, together with GiG, we can disrupt the market, through product innovation and unique user experience.”
Online gaming has proved to be a success story for New Jersey. Last year the sector generated $245 million, up almost a quarter from the previous year. That represents more than 9 percent of the Atlantic City casino markets combined gross gaming revenue.
But sports betting, which tends to outshine online casino in markets where both verticals are available, would be even bigger for online gambling in New Jersey.
If licenses are approved for Hard Rock and Ocean Resorts, it will mean all seven of Atlantic City’s casinos will soon be active in the market, operating between them a minimum of 24 online gambling websites.