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Hard Rock Partners with Gaming Innovation Group to Power NJ Online Casino Launch

As the Hard Rock International casino consortium prepares to open its newly purchased Atlantic City venue to the public, the company will also enter the online gambling industry for the first time.

After acquiring the defunct Trump Taj Mahal for $50 million last year, Hard Rock has partnered with the Malta-based Gaming Innovation Group to launch an affiliated online casino.

In a press release issued earlier this month, Hard Rock’s senior vice president of online gaming Kresimir Spajic confirmed the company’s arrangement with Gaming Innovation Group:

“Hard Rock has an ambitious plan to become a global leader in the international online gaming space.

We are confident that, together with Gaming Innovation Group, we can disrupt the market, through product innovation and unique user experience.”

Robin Reed, who serves as chief executive officer for Gaming Innovation Group, echoed those sentiments while describing the evolving relationship with Hard Rock:

“We are excited to be part of Hard Rock International’s inspiring and innovative plans to become a global leader in the international online gaming space.

The online casino will be a stand-out product with the sizzle of the Hard Rock music, entertainment and lifestyle brand.”

Hard Rock has sunk approximately $375 million into renovating the brick and mortar components of the Taj Mahal casino.

In the months after the Taj Mahal acquisition, rumors swirled regarding Hard Rock’s interest in joining New Jersey’s lucrative regulated iGaming industry. The move was widely viewed as a foregone conclusion considering the successful nature of online gambling in the Garden State.

Last year alone, regulated iGaming platforms generated nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue.

A report published in January by the Associated Press revealed Hard Rock’s preliminary plans, as a spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) confirmed that the company had already applied for an interactive gaming license.

Additional evidence was provided by Lee Terfloth, who previously headed up the iGaming platforms for Borgata and Resorts in Atlantic City. Terfloth recently updated his LinkedIn page to reflect his new position as the director of online gaming products for Hard Rock Atlantic City.

The press release also provided greater insight into the role Gaming Innovation Group will play in guiding Hard Rock’s initial foray into the iGaming space:

“Gaming Innovation Group will provide Hard Rock with a state of the art digital consumer portal, as well as the back-end platform to manage the operations.

The online casino will be developed by Gaming Innovation Group’s design and development team in collaboration with Hard Rock.”

Gaming Innovation Group has been in business since 2012, with six offices scattered throughout the E.U. to serve its European client base. The company’s collection of iGaming platforms includes Guts.com, Rizk.com, and BetSpin.com among others.

As a backend software servicer, Gaming Innovation Group also utilizes products like GIG Media and the iGaming Cloud to power client platforms.

The deal with Hard Rock marks Gaming Innovation Group’s first partnership within the regulated American market, which currently consists of four states (New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania). The New Jersey iGaming market is by far the most successful of the foursome, and Pennsylvania hasn’t gone live as of yet following passage of an iGaming bill late last year.

Gaming Innovation Group also inked a deal with the U.K.-based Perform Group earlier in the year, with the companies agreeing to share data to improve online sports betting services. That partnership could be a prelude to the company’s interest in regulated American sports betting, given New Jersey’s ongoing challenge to the federal sports betting ban.