The wait is over.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will be home to NJ sports betting thanks to a partnership with international developer Gaming Innovation Group (GiG).
The two companies announced this past week that they’d be teaming up for a sportsbook at Hard Rock Atlantic City by the end of the year.
In the press release, GiG said they signed an LOI, or “letter of intent,” to launch land-based and online/mobile sportsbooks for Hard Rock AC.
Here is the statement:
“Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) has signed a Letter of Intent with Hard Rock International (Hard Rock) for the provision of an omni-channel Sportsbook platform in the newly opened New Jersey, US market at its Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
The intention of the LOI is to execute an agreement and launch the Sportsbook in New Jersey in Q4 2018.”
More detail on the NJ sports betting partnership
The agreement shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise considering GiG is the brains behind Hard Rock online casino. The NJ gambling site launched in late June, shortly after Hard Rock AC opened its doors on the Boardwalk.
We reached out to GiG’s CCO, Ben Clemes, for more information about the letter of intent.
Clemens told us that because the contract wasn’t finalized, he couldn’t discuss the details of the partnership:
“At this point, I cannot elaborate much more than what was stated in the release we made on the Oslo exchange where we announced that we have entered into an LOI with Hard Rock International to deliver the retail and online sports solution to NJ,” Clemens said. “We expect the contract to be finalized in the near future with the retail solution being live in (Q4) of this year.”
Good news for Hard Rock Atlantic City
The announcement solved what many considered the biggest mystery of the NJ sports betting landscape: When will Hard Rock AC launch a land-based and online sportsbook?
Competing new casino Ocean Resort opened its William Hill sportsbook in June of this year. There are seven other in-person sportsbooks in operation in the state.
Only Tropicana, Hard Rock, and Caesars have yet to open an online or land-based sportsbook. But this doesn’t mean Trop isn’t thinking about or planning for it. A recent partnership with William Hill brings Trop closer to launch than ever before.
And recent petitions submitted by both Hard Rock and Tropicana to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement move things forward further. The petitions ask for transactional waivers to commence sports betting at the two Atlantic City casinos.
This leaves Caesars on the outside looking in, but only somewhat. After all, Caesars has an online sportsbook of its own.
Deal marks third for Hard Rock AC
Per New Jersey’s gambling laws, a casino is allowed three “skins” for sports betting operators. This means that, with one license, each Atlantic City casino is allowed to create partnerships with three sports betting operators.
Over the past few months, Hard Rock AC filled up its quota through a trio of partnerships.
Hard Rock finalized its first partnership in July when it announced it had joined forces with bet365, an international sports betting giant based in the United Kingdom.
Then, this past August, Hard Rock teamed up with Kindred, a force in European online gambling. Kindred’s portfolio includes some of Europe’s biggest online gambling websites including Bohemia Casino, 32 Red, Vlad Cazino, and more. It also oversees Unibet, an online sports betting operation that will make its way into New Jersey soon.
Bottom line, Hard Rock AC has its ducks all lined up and ready to go. The question now is when exactly those ducks will launch.