Hard Rock International announced on Monday the launch of a digital venture with three former Star Group Executives. The partnership is aimed at significantly expanding Hard Rock’s digital gaming and sports betting business, globally.
Hard Rock Digital will take advantage of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming database of more than 130 million customers and nearly 250 land-based properties across 76 countries and offer interactive gaming and sports betting products. Hard Rock Digital will be full capitalized by Hard Rock International, Seminole Gaming, and its partners.
Said Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen:
“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.”
Ex-Star Group Executives
The new business will be headed by Rafi Ashkenazi, the former chief executive of the Stars Group. Ashkenazi left the Stars Group after Flutter Entertainment completed its merger with the PokerStars operator last May. He is expected to assume his new position early next year after taking a gardening leave.
Joining Ashkenazi in the Hard Rock Digital business is Marlon Goldstein who was the former Legal Officer of the Stars Group. Goldstein will serve as Hard Rock Digital’s CEO and executive managing director. He also serves on the board of Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisitions company.
Completing the Stars Group hirees is Matt Primeaux who served as senior vice president of US strategy and operation for Stars Group. Primeaux will hold the position of President and executive managing director for Hard Rock Digital.
New Independent Board
The three-man management team will report to a newly formed, independent Board of Directors of Hard Rock Digital, which will be chaired by HRI chair Jim Allen. According to the hospitality and entertainment giant, Hard Rock Digital will be based in Hollywood, Florida.
The brand is already active in the gaming industry and has launched igaming and sports betting in New Jersey and Iowa, in partnership with Gaming Innovation Group. That collaboration ended in September with Hard Rock signing a new deal with Scientific Games.
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming and Entertainment, the operator generated a total of $6.3M from its online casino business and $418,516 from its sports betting operations.