Hard Rock International (HRI) announced Monday the launch of Hard Rock Digital, a joint venture with gaming industry veterans. The company said it will be the exclusive Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming (SGA) vehicle for interactive gaming and sports betting, globally.
Hard Rock Digital will leverage HRI and SGA's database of more than 130 million customers and footprint of nearly 250 land-based venues across 76 countries to provide an omni-channel offering for interactive gaming and sports betting. Hard Rock Digital will be fully capitalized by SGA, HRI and its partners, providing full financial support and backing for this new joint venture. SGA maintains an investment-grade rating from both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.
Jon Lucas, Hard Rock COO, told Yogonet in an interview last month that the company was seeing "material double digit growth in the online space" during the pandemic. "The expansion of our online business has been a strategic focus for the company and we will be announcing some of our expansion plans in the next few weeks," he said then.
"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, in a press release Monday. "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." These numbers reflect predicted market size by 2025 via Morgan Stanley.
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 will join Hard Rock Digital in 2021 following a garden leave period.
Prior to the formation of Hard Rock Digital, the executives were part of the leadership team that facilitated the growth and transformation of several technology and interactive gaming businesses, including Playtech, The Stars Group, and FOX Bet. The management team will report to a newly formed, independent Board of Directors for Hard Rock Digital, which will be chaired by Jim Allen, Chairman of HRI. Hard Rock Digital will be based in Hollywood, Florida.
"We are honored to join forces with Hard Rock International on this new venture," said Marlon Goldstein. "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."