Another European company is getting into New Jersey sports betting.
Hard Rock Atlantic City and online gaming company Kindred Group announced a new agreement last week. The deal allows Kindred — the parent company of well-known online sportsbook Unibet — to pursue a Casino Service Industry Enterprise License (CSIE) in New Jersey.
The agreement is for five years with what looks like an option to renew for an additional five. Theoretically, Kindred could in theory offer a complete New Jersey online casino with a CSIE license. It is difficult to know if it will receive the full license and the company is keeping the specific details quiet.
The only thing we do know is New Jersey sports betting and online gaming will be getting more competition in the near future.
Kresimir Spajic, Senior Vice President of Online Gaming at Hard Rock International, spoke to the partnership in a press release:
“Hard Rock is proud to partner with one of the fastest growing operators in the industry. We are hopeful that Kindred’s international experience and commitment to innovation will translate to a significant success in New Jersey.”
Hard Rock’s short tenure in New Jersey gaming
Hard Rock smashed guitars and opened its doors to the Boardwalk on June 28. Just hours later it launched its online casino with its online gaming partner Gaming Innovation Group (GiG). The one thing it didn’t open was a sportsbook, even though sports betting launched in New Jersey a few weeks before its grand opening.
In July, a deal between Hard Rock and Bet365 was discovered by PlayNJ in correspondence on the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) website. Little has been said about the deal since.
We know that Hard Rock has plans for its own sportsbook, as well. Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, said so during the casino’s grand opening. Specifically, Allen seemed very bullish on mobile sports betting. Even so, plans for its retail and online sports betting operations are still unclear.
Hard Rock online casino came in second to last in New Jersey’s online casino revenue race. Only Ocean Resort Casino earned less. However, looking at July’s sports betting revenue, Ocean Resort Casino, came in second, only the Meadows Racetrack & Casino earned more.
In the nascent NJ sports betting industry, casinos and racetracks are still fighting to be top dog. No doubt Hard Rock is watching the sports betting landscape and doesn’t intend on sitting out much longer.
Kindred Group’s first US partnership
Malta-based Kindred has 20 years experience and is one of Europe’s largest gaming operators. Kindred, known previously as Unibet, has combined 11 European online gaming brands under one umbrella over the years.
Kindred currently offers sports betting, casino games, poker and bingo. The Kindred mission of bringing an “unforgettable experience” to online gaming seems to fit perfectly with the Hard Rock brand.
Manuel Stan, Senior Vice President of Kindred US, talked about the partnership:
“This is a very exciting moment for Kindred as we have been working hard to take this first important step into what will most likely become the largest betting market in the world. I’m also delighted that we have been able to team up with a true lifestyle and entertainment brand and I am confident that Kindred and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will give New Jersey customers an absolutely great sports betting and gaming experience.”
Kindred posted a second-quarter 31 percent increase in gross revenue year-over-year. Its expansion plans are not limited to New Jersey and the US. either. The company also recently applied for a gaming license in Sweden.
Kindred and New Jersey enjoy a six-degrees of separation type of relationship.
Currently, Kambi supplies Kindred’s sports betting platform. Kambi also provides the sports betting technology for DraftKings. DraftKings Sportsbook launched the first, and currently only, mobile sports betting app in New Jersey earlier this month.
This certainly lends itself to a quick sports betting launch in New Jersey for Hard Rock and Kindred once it gets the go-ahead from the DGE.