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Hard Rock Atlantic City opens; online casino follows

With a ceremonial guitar smash and much fanfare including fireworks, Hard Rock Atlantic City officially opened its doors on June 28. The epic celebration was followed quietly by the Hard Rock online casino going live.

From Trump Taj Mahal to Hard Rock Atlantic City

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is the new name given to the Trump Taj Mahal, which closed in October 2016 and underwent a renovation under new ownership.

The end of the Taj

The $1 billion casino resort first opened in 1990 as the largest casino in the world. Financial issues plagued the property from the beginning and despite being the top-grossing casino in Atlantic City prior to the opening of the Borgata in 2003, Trump Taj Mahal went through numerous bankruptcy proceedings and ownership changes.

Trump Taj Mahal was among the first Atlantic City casinos to obtain an online gambling operators license. Through a partnership with Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Las Vegas’ Station Casinos, Trump Taj Mahal launched Ultimate Casino in November 2013. The online casino site offered a limited number of slots, video poker, online table games, and an online poker client.

While initially successful, Ultimate Casino quickly fell to the bottom of the list of New Jersey online casinos in terms of revenue generation. By September 2014, with Trump Taj Mahal filing for bankruptcy yet again, payment issues forced Ultimate Gaming to pull out and Ultimate Casino was shut down.

Trump Taj Mahal itself closed down on October 10, 2016, in the middle of a labor dispute.

Hard Rock AC makes plans

Hard Rock International completed its acquisition of the Trump Taj Mahal in April 2017 and unveiled plans for its redevelopment into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. The property underwent a $375 million renovation and at one time was set to open Memorial Day weekend 2018.

The renovations climbed to $500 million. And on April 18 at a press conference held in Philadelphia, New York City, and Atlantic City, Hard Rock officially announced an opening date of June 28.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will include:

  • 2,000 upscale hotel rooms
  • 2,200 slot machines and 120 gaming tables
  • More than 20 dining and nightlife options
  • Two entertainment theaters with over 8,000 combined seats
  • 300+ nights of entertainment already booked

The completely redesigned interior includes the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City, which moved from its former spot on the Boardwalk into a new 400-seat venue in the center of the property.

Amenities also include two arenas with more than 7,000 total seats, a re-imagined entrance and guestrooms, meeting and convention space, a full-service spa, and Hard Rock International’s uniquely themed design featuring pieces from the world’s largest and most priceless music memorabilia collection.

Hard Rock brass have indicated an interest in contributing to the revitalization of Atlantic City.

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Editor’s review

Hard Rock Preview
  • Brand Quality
  • Operational Reputation
  • Likely Game Library
  • Ability to Offer Crossover Rewards

Summary

Hard Rock’s online casino will likely be operated and backed by the same company that owns and operates The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City: Hard Rock International. Competing in the growing Atlantic City online casino market will likely require Hard Rock offer one of the biggest and most comprehensive libraries of slots, video poker and casino games available. Plus, deposit bonuses need to be on par or in excess of those offered by the already established industry leaders.

Bottom line: The existing online casinos in New Jersey have had a few years head start. This means Hard Rock will have to offer a massive variety of casino games and competitive deposit bonus offers to attract new players to its offering. A Hard Rock online casino will also be well served to focus marketing efforts on what is already a well-established, enduring and popular worldwide brand.

4.7

Hard Rock Online Casino NJ platform

In order to establish itself in the highly competitive NJ online casino market, Hard Rock will need to enter the fray with a solid software platform. It must be extremely user-friendly and easy to navigate while providing a number of features that add value to the user experience. If Hard Rock has hopes of competing in the already established NJ online casino market, the effort to do so begins with high-quality software, because without it, it will likely end there.

To that end, in early 2018, Hard Rock announced it would partner with Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) to build its online casino platform.

Hard Rock NJ software

Hard Rock could invest countless hours and millions of dollars developing its own online casino software. It could also enter a number of third-party partnerships with online gaming solutions providers, as a majority of the New Jersey online casinos have already. The second option would be a quicker and more efficient way to enter the market and start competing right from the word “go.” Hence, it partnered with GiG.

A number of already established online casino platforms are operating in the NJ online casino sphere, including the NYX Open Platform System and the Gamesys platform. Both provide access to countless slot and online table game options.

Hard Rock also recently entered into a partnership with NetEnt to provide games for its online casino. It might also consider using gaming software providers already operating in New Jersey including IGT, NextGen, NeHard Rockt, or High 5 Games.

Of course, Hard Rock will need to provide traditional ways to access its NJ online Casino platform, including:

  • Browser-based client: Hard Rock should be able to offer players the opportunity to access all of its casino games and member features through a desktop browser. Hard Rock Casino will need to be compatible with all major browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
  • Mobile device: Hard Rock should make an effort to offer one of the most comprehensive mobile apps in the industry, and fill it with the same game titles found on its desktop site. Players will need to be able to download the app for iOS and Android devices.

Hard Rock Android / iOS NJ casino app

Users should be able to download the Hard Rock online casino mobile app through the main casino site on a smartphone or tablet. Plus, the app should also be available through the App Store for Android devices and on iTunes for iOS users.

View a comparison of NJ online casino apps

Mobile features

Most NJ online casino mobile apps offer a relatively slimmed-down version of what is available for desktop users. This means there is ample opportunities for new player like Hard Rock in the mobile gaming sphere.

If Hard Rock can build a mobile gaming experience that mirrors the online casino found through desktops, it will be a player in the New Jersey online Casino market right out of the gate.

A simple and easy to use layout, filled with value-added features and usable account management options is a good start. Plus, Hard Rock should be able to offer its entire desktop game library to players using the mobile app.

Mobile games

Hard Rock has the chance to separate itself from the pack in the NJ online casino market with its Mobile gaming offering. Most mobile apps in New Jersey only include a small percentage of the games available on a desktop. Creating a mobile version of the casino software that’s filled with hundreds of games will give Hard Rock a leg up on the NJ online casino competition.

A wide variety of slots, blackjack, table games and video poker games need to be available on the mobile app.

The software should also run without glitches or disconnects.

If Hard Rock provides a comprehensive online casino experience with its mobile app, it may find a a way to immediately compete in the already established NJ online casino market.

Network partners

It’s safe to assume Hard Rock will apply for an be granted its own online gambling license, which only Atlantic City land-based casino properties can do. As a result, the Hard Rock NJ online casino will operate under that license.

However, Hard Rock could look to partner with an already licensed online casino platform in New Jersey, or welcome other online casinos to operate under its license. Sites like Betfair and Sugarhouse operate under the Golden Nugget license. Similarly, partypoker and PalaCasino have partnered with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to operate under its license.

Hard Rock may also want to take advantage of a partner’s already established third-party software agreements just to get the product off the ground.

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Games at Hard Rock casino online

Hard Rock video poker

It’s a good bet Hard Rock will want to offer a relatively large selection of video poker games. Some New Jersey online casinos offer as many as twenty different video poker titles. Hard Rock will need to offer a selection of basic Video Poker titles including:

  • Jacks or Better
  • Double Double Bonus Poker
  • Double Bonus Poker
  • Deuces Wild
  • Bonus Poker

Blackjack at Hard Rock’s NJ online casino

Hard Rock will need to offer a wide variety of Blackjack games as well. Some New Jersey online casino platforms offer as many as a dozen. At the very least, Hard Rock will need to offer a selection of basic Blackjack titles, including:

  • Single Deck Blackjack
  • Multihand Blackjack
  • Atlantic City Blackjack

Hard Rock online casino slots

Some NJ online casinos offer hundreds of online slots. Hard Rock will need to do the same if it wants to compete. Progressive jackpot slots and popular branded slots are a must as well. Expect to see Hard Rock roll out some of the most popular slots on the market including the following music-themed slots:

  • Karaoke Party
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Michael Jackson: King of Pop
  • Motorhead
  • Megadeath
  • Guns n’Roses
  • KISS
  • Elvis Top 20
  • At The Copa
  • Pimped

Other games at Hard Rock online casino in NJ

Hard Rock will want to offer a comprehensive casino and gaming experience with its online casino site and mobile app. That means a big selection of casino games found in both a typical online and brick and mortar casinos.

Hard Rock may consider offering an online poker client and live dealer games as well. Any NJ online casino product from Hard Rock will almost definitely include:

  • Baccarat
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Craps
  • Roulette
  • Keno
  • Bingo
  • Three Card Poker
  • Let It Ride

Hard Rock online casino VIP program

Casino players are a savvy bunch and always gravitate towards the properties that offer them the most value – even online. This means NJ online casinos need to offer comprehensive VIP clubs that rewards high volume players and help create brand loyalty. Hard Rock is expected to roll out a comprehensive loyalty program that offers solid bonuses on the online casino and works hand in hand with the brick and mortar casino property in an effort to draw traffic online and off.

Expect exclusive bonuses, comps, and features that draws players to the Hard Rock NJ online casino and keeps them there.

Banking options at Hard Rock casino online

Deposit options

Hard Rock’s online gambling site should be ready to accept:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Prepaid Cards
  • Neteller
  • Electronic checks
  • Bank wire
  • Check
  • PayPal
  • Cash at the Hard Rock cage

Hard Rock withdrawal options

Players should be able to receive payouts from the Hard Rock online casino the same way they make deposits. This is likely to include electronic checks, wire transfers, traditional checks, Neteller, PayPal and cash payouts at the casino cage.

Hard Rock Casino customer service

Great customer service can attract and retain customers better than almost any other initiative. Most NJ online casinos offer around-the-clock support, including:

  • Live chat
  • Phone support
  • Email support

The Hard Rock online casino customer service team will need to do the same in a responsive and friendly manner.

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