Global hospitality and entertainment firm Hard Rock International (HRI) has broadened out its digital business with the launch this week of Hard Rock Digital. The move, said the company, forms part of its ongoing commitment to innovation and diversification of its portfolio in high-growth markets.
According to a statement from the operator, Hard Rock Digital is a joint venture with gaming industry veterans, and will be the exclusive Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming (SGA) vehicle for interactive gaming and sports betting, globally.
It will leverage HRI and SGA’s extensive database of more than 130 million customers and footprint of nearly 250 land-based venues across 76 countries to provide an omnichannel offering for interactive gaming and sports betting.
Capital for Hard Rock Digital comes from SGA, HRI and its partners, who will provide full financial support and backing for the new joint venture. SGA maintains an investment-grade rating from both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings.
Jim Allen, Chairman of HRI, explained: “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.
“Hard Rock Digital also intends to pursue strategic branding and distribution opportunities both within the US and globally. In the US alone, the potential future market size is estimated at $7bn for sports betting and $14bn for online gaming.”
Managing Hard Rock Digital is a team of gaming industry leaders comprising Rafi Ashkenazi, Executive Managing Director and Executive Chair; Marlon Goldstein, Executive Managing Director and CEO; and Matt Primeaux, Executive Managing Director and President.
Ashkenazi, former Stars Group Chief Executive, will join Hard Rock Digital in 2021 follow ing a period of garden leave. 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.
“We are honored to join forces with Hard Rock International on this new venture,” said Marlon Goldstein, Executive Managing Director and CEO for Hard Rock Digital. “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.”