Hard Rock Atlantic City Partnering With Evolution Gaming, Entering Live Casino Fray

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First you learn the basic chords and how to strum them. Then gradually you expand your repertoire to include complex fingerpicking and eventually shredding guitar solos.

Hard Rock is taking it one step at a time as an Atlantic City casino. The music-themed property on the site of the former Taj Mahal opened its doors officially on June 28, soft-launched its online casino on June 29, and went beyond the soft-launch phase with HardRockCasino.com a few days later.

Now Hard Rock AC is preparing to add “Live Dealer” games to the mix, and Evolution Gaming has announced it will power these games, launching before the summer is over.

The live experience

Live Dealer, or “Live Casino” as the Evolution release calls it, combines the convenience of online gaming with elements of traditional casino gambling, using real dealers, cards, and roulette wheels rather than their virtual counterparts and random number generators.

Hard Rock’s Live Casino offerings will include American (Double Zero) Roulette, Blackjack with side bets and the Bet Behind feature, Baccarat, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker, plus automated Slingshot Roulette.

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The inclusion of Bet Behind is of particular interest, as it enables players waiting for a precious seat to place wagers on other players’ hands, typically at a much lower price point than what it costs to play in the main game. Other NJ online casino sites with Live Dealer games have hinted that they plan to add the Bet Behind feature, yet to date, no one has. The closest the market has come so far to a communal blackjack experience is the recently launched Unlimited Blackjack on Golden Nugget Casino.

Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em will also be newcomers to the NJ Live Dealer market.

A new level of integration

There will also be three dedicated Evolution Live Blackjack tables on the casino floor in Atlantic City, along with one Evolution Dual Play Roulette table.

“We want Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City to be the number one online destination for New Jersey players,” Hard Rock AC Director of Product and iGaming Lee Terfloth said in the release. “Evolution is the ideal partner to help us achieve that. They have a proven track record in multiple European markets that they are the Live Casino leaders.”

“We are especially excited by the potential of the Evolution Dual Play Roulette table that will be located on the new casino’s main gaming floor,” added Evolution Director of Business Development & Land-based Sales James Stern, “By allowing remote online players to play alongside on-premise players at the same gaming floor table, Dual Play will give remote players a taste of what will be a unique Hard Rock experience.”

Hard Rock won’t be the first to allow players to bet on live casino roulette, as Golden Nugget rolled out its own version of Dual Play Roulette earlier this year.

What this means for Hard Rock online casino

Live Dealer games have been nothing short of a boon for the NJ online gambling market. Golden Nugget was the first to roll them out in August 2016, and they have played a significant role in the operator more than doubling its monthly iGaming revenue since.

Since then, Betfair Casino and three sites under the Borgata online gambling license (Borgata Casino, playMGM, and PartyCasino NJ) have all implemented Live Dealer games to great success.

However, the rollout of Live games on Hard Rock online casino could mark a series of firsts. We say “could” because Evolution has also struck a deal to provide Live Casino games for other industry newcomer Ocean Resort Casino.

For one, Hard Rock will be among the first AC casinos that doesn’t use the Golden Nugget’s space to stream the games. It will also hail the introduction of multiple new games and side bets, like the much anticipated Bet Behind feature.

Both Hard Rock and Ocean could use a little differentiating from the pack, as their online casino sites recently entered into what is a still growing, yet saturated, marketplace. First month online casino revenue for Hard Rock Online Casino came in at $330k vs. $250k for Ocean Online Casino, which was only live for about two-thirds of July.

Robert DellaFave contributed to this article.

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Eric Raskin

Eric is a veteran writer, editor, and podcaster in the sports and gaming industries. He was the editor-in-chief of the poker magazine All In for nearly a decade, is the author of the book The Moneymaker Effect, and has contributed to such outlets as ESPN.com, Grantland.com, and Playboy.

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