With Atlantic City Abuzz, Hard Rock AC Sets A Launch Date

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After a year of feverish construction work, the highly anticipated Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City is finally set to open its doors.

That’s according to company officials, who Wednesday stated that the venue’s grand opening date would be revealed in simultaneous press conferences, playing out across three states on Wednesday, April 18 at 11 AM.

The main announcement will take place at the Tanger Outlets in AC, but execs will create additional buzz throughout the surrounding area with events at the Hard Rock Cafes in Philadelphia and Times Square.

We’ll also get more details on which musical acts have been tapped to celebrate the launch, and which will perform during the first year. It’s safe to assume that the company will spare no expense in that regard, using its global reach to attract top-tier headliners.

Don’t forget about online

Hard Rock doesn’t just want to dominate the brick-and-mortar casino landscape, it wants to become a major player in online gambling as well. The company plans to launch a full-featured online casino either in tandem, or soon after the debut of its Boardwalk venue.

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If the promotional blitz in the works for Hard Rock AC is any indicator, we’ll likely see the company throw some serious cash at capturing online players too. While this should worry competitors, it’s great news for customers, who can reap the rewards of welcome bonus packages when they sign up an account.

Branching out

Hard Rock has gone in a slightly different direction than the other online casinos in the market, teaming up with Gaming Innovation Group (GIG), a software platform provider with no prior footprint in the state.

Based in Europe, GIG is a formidable partner, powering popular international casinos like Super Lenny, Rizk and Thrills.

But choosing an entity new to the regulated US online gambling market is a risk for Hard Rock. The provider might take time to find its footing and could very well experience kinks during the critical days and weeks soon after launch. Any hiccups could prompt customers to leave the site and never return.

The outside partnership isn’t to say that players won’t see games which have become favorites in the state, though. Hard Rock recently announced a deal with award-winning gaming developer NetEnt, which will provide titles like Divine Fortune for the burgeoning online casino.

Can it compete?

There are already over a dozen online gambling sites operating in the state, many of which have a nearly five-year head start on newcomers – so the success of Hard Rock online is anything but guaranteed. That said, we believe that there is still room for new sites to thrive, especially brands that are as well-known as Hard Rock.

Indeed, the industry has yet to experience a month where it didn’t post year-on-year growth, although that trend has been slowing as of late. A big marketing spend and successful launch by Hard Rock could drive new players to the industry, growing it as a whole rather than just cannibalizing competitors.

Play SugarHouse Casino provides us an example of a recent entry into the market which found success through a strong platform and loyalty rewards program. If Hard Rock plays its cards right, it could easily become one of the state’s top online casinos.

The road to launch

Atlantic City’s Hard Rock was constructed on the site of the former Trump Taj Mahal, a casino built by a man with nearly universal name recognition. In 2016, the Taj was forced to shut down after succumbing to an economic downturn that had already claimed four other AC casinos in recent years.

Hard Rock International and another group of developers purchased the property the following year, completely revamping it at a cost of $500 million. Naturally, the new venue will come equipped with two concert venues, an ample array of slot machines and table games, and be adorned with a massive 53-foot-tall guitar.

Surprisingly, construction seems to have gone on schedule, with developers close to hitting their projected summer opening date.

While we’ll have to wait until next week to know for certain, rumblings around town lead us to believe that Hard Rock AC will officially open to the public sometime in late June.

For now, curious patrons can get a sneak peek of what Hard Rock AC has in store at the Tanger Outlets, where officials recently set up a preview station. While there, they can also register to win a 2018 Tesla Model S, check out memorabilia items and sign up for a Wild Card Rewards membership card.

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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