Hard Rock And GiG Make It Official, Will Launch NJ Sports Betting Early 2019

Written By Kim Yuhl on November 29, 2018

New Jersey is not done opening sportsbooks.

Hard Rock Atlantic City recently extended its partnership with Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to launch both an online and retail sportsbook in the first quarter of 2019.

We first learned of the potential partnership in mid-October when the two companies signed a letter of intent. The initial timeline hinted at the fourth quarter of this year for the launch.

A press release this week made everything official and updated the NJ sports betting timeline.

Kresimir Spajic, SVP Online Gaming at Hard Rock International, commented on the partnership and the impending launch:

“The forthcoming launch of the Hard Rock Sportsbook in New Jersey will mark another step towards becoming a significant player in the national and international Sports Betting and Online Gaming industry. In the past few months GiG has proven to be an innovative, capable, flexible and trustworthy partner. Such qualities together with vanguard Sportsbook technology and services enabled GiG to win our New Jersey Sportsbook RFP.

We are positive that the extension of our partnership with GiG together with ‘skin’ partnerships with leading international operators will enable Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City to reach its ultimate goal of becoming New Jersey’s Sports Betting and Online Gaming market leader.”

Hard Rock and GiG taking it up a notch

GiG and Hard Rock first joined forces for Hard Rock online casino, which launched in July. At the time, it was unclear whether Hard Rock would be able to launch sports betting operations because of NFL restrictions for companies with stadium naming rights.

Hard Rock International and the Miami Dolphins entered into an 18-year stadium naming partnership in 2016. However, the NFL recently changed its policy, freeing Hard Rock to pursue sports betting.

The addition of the Hard Rock Sportsbook offerings marks GiG’s entry into the nascent market after developing its new platform for nearly two years.

Hard Rock Sportsbook and self-service kiosks

The hottest ticket in New Jersey right now is a mobile sports betting app. Hard Rock plans on launching both iOS and Android apps plus a browser-based option. Even though the launch date may keep Hard Rock from accepting wagers on NFL games, sports bettors will find all of their favorite sports to get their game on.

GiG will also power the company’s retail location and self-service kiosks. Hard Rock’s omnichannel sportsbook will include the following services from GiG:

  • Sports Connect
  • Trader
  • Goal

Robin Reed, CEO of GiG, talks about the importance of this milestone for the company:

“I am proud and delighted to have signed this agreement with our partner Hard Rock, our first inroad to sports betting in the exciting US market. Hard Rock choosing GiG to power its Sportsbook, is a clear statement as to the quality of our cutting-edge sports betting services at this very early stage of their roll-out.

Hard Rock is a strong brand with scale, wide reach and with the same high ambitions as us. We look forward, with excitement, to continuing to support Hard Rock’s expansion and geographical growth.”

What Atlantic City casino is left?

With a contract in place for Hard Rock, only one AC casino remains without a retail sportsbook. Caesars Atlantic City has not given any indication that they plan to launch a sportsbook any time soon.

However, its parent company, Caesars Entertainment opened sportsbooks at its two other Atlantic City casinos: Bally’s and Harrah’s. And, of course, the Caesars Sportsbook mobile app is available for NJ sports betting.

It will not be surprising if Caesars chooses to forgo a land-based option. Especially considering the popularity of mobile sports betting and two NJ sportsbooks at its sister properties. However, it is more likely that Caesars will share Bally’s Sportsbook since it sits next door.

Hard Rock, on the other hand, will benefit from building both online and retail sports betting presence in New Jersey. The companies made a point of noting the “potential to expand the partnership further in the future in other US states.”

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl has been covering the US online gambling market since 2013. Her work is featured on various sites and covers sports betting, online casino gambling, and online poker. Kim is a full-time traveler and vlogger and is currently slow traveling to 60 countries. You can follow her travels at kimandway.com and on YouTube at kimandway.

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