Hard Rock AC Is Finally Getting A Sportsbook, Signaling Lifting Of NFL Restrictions

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After watching six Atlantic City casinos launch sportsbook offerings ahead of it, Hard Rock AC finally seems ready to get into the game.

Today, Hard Rock’s online gambling platform provider, Gaming Innovation Group (GIG), announced that it had signed a letter of intent to provide “omni channel” sportsbook services to the nascent casino through its proprietary sports betting software solution.

This means that Hard Rock customers will soon be able to wager on sports both at the physical casino and via mobile apps. According to the release, the sportsbook will go live sometime in Q4.

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Why the delay?

While Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort opened for business on the same day, only Ocean offered Boardwalk gamblers the chance to bet on sporting events. Since then, Ocean has completed construction of its permanent sportsbook, which is regarded as one of the most lavish in the state.

Hard Rock’s delay in offering the vertical seems to be related to a current branding partnership it has with the NFL (Hard Rock Stadium is the home of the Miami Dolphins). The NFL, which fought New Jersey’s challenge to open up sports betting, often includes provisions in contracts preventing league corporate partners from associating with gambling.

However, GIG’s letter of intent to provide sports betting services to the casino seems to confirm that any restrictions have been lifted.

Prior to today’s announcement, Hard Rock was involved in sports betting in a licensing capacity only, striking a deal to host a Bet365 skin in July.

About the GIG sports betting platform

Based in Malta, GIG is best known for its online casino platform, which has been deployed by several gaming sites outside of the U.S., like Thrills, Rizk, Super Lenny, Guts, and Betspin.

Earlier this year, the provider expanded into sports betting, announcing its homegrown sports platform in June.

Unlike other gaming software providers operating in New Jersey, which have had to team up with third-party, specialized sports betting companies to round out their offerings, GIG looks to have built an all-in-one solution.

The platform consists of three parts:

  • GIG Sports Connect: A proprietary in-house odds and data service that gives operators the freedom to choose their odds for “every event and market imaginable.”
  • GIG Trader: A custom trading tool suite and risk management solution, built to optimize user experience through smooth responsiveness.
  • GIG Goal: A mobile-first “highly responsive front-end solution,” which features machine learning for customer personalization.

GIG is quite confident in its new product, calling the solution “the most advanced and disruptive sports betting platform product of the last decade” in a release.

“We have created a highly flexible, scalable, and significantly advanced platform,” said Endre Nesset, GIG Director of Sports. “Operators will have the freedom to personalize their offering to optimize the user experience. This way they can focus on marketing their brands and driving revenue.”

The software, which was developed over an 18-month period, debuted during the World Cup on Rizk, the company’s own online casino brand.

With its product already tested in a real-world setting, the company seems ready to go big — just last week, GIG received its license to operate in the UK by the UK Gambling Commission.

If the software performs as well as company execs claim, it will be interesting to see if other operators partner with GIG for sports in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and beyond.

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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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