Playtech has acquired a “low single-digit minority equity stake” in Hard Rock Digital (HRD) for $85 million as part of a strategic partnership. HRD is the interactive division of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming, which includes Hard Rock Online Casino and Sportsbook.
Meanwhile, Playtech is one of the world’s largest gaming technology providers.
As part of the agreement, HRD will license Playtech’s iGaming content, including slots and live dealer games. Hard Rock will also implement other Playtech software and service outside North America, including the IMS player management platform.
Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said:
The Playtech team is thrilled to announce our strategic partnership with HRD. Hard Rock International has cemented itself as a marquee name worldwide, not just in gambling but more widely in entertainment. For Playtech, this partnership significantly advances our position in the North American market and is very much in line with our B2B strategy.
Playtech (Playtech PLC 538,00 +1,51%) told investors it expects a minimal impact on its B2B business this year. However, the company expects a more significant effect in 2024 from expected Hard Rock expansion in the US and abroad.
Hard Rock to Use Cash for Future Expansion in US, Abroad
The $85 million cash boost will assist Hard Rock’s expansion in the US and, potentially, internationally.
After the partnership announcement, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen (also chair of HRD) said:
This partnership will act as an accelerator for Hard Rock Digital’s planned strategic initiative to expand its online gaming offerings to international markets, becoming the first operator with a global omni-channel offering under a singular, irreplaceable brand.
Currently, Hard Rock Sportsbook is live in seven states:
- New Jersey
It’s also expected to launch soon in Illinois.
Meanwhile, Hard Rock Casino is only available in New Jersey.
But unlike other gaming operators who have put expansion plans on hold (such as BetMGM), HRD seeks to launch in more markets, including internationally. And, thanks to its iconic Hard Rock Café, which has locations in 68 countries, the brand has strong recognition and reputation globally.
The partnership with Playtech will provide HRD with additional resources, including software and supplemental game offerings.
Playtech games are well-known and widely available in international markets, such as Europe, which could help Hard Rock Casino and Sportsbook gain ground overseas.
The partnership will also allow HRD to compete more effectively on domestic soil with gaming operators like BetMGM Casino and DraftKings Casino.
Deal Will Help Playtech Make Ground in the US
While HRD is eyeing international expansion, Playtech is looking to create a larger footprint in the US.
Although it’s one of the largest gaming technology companies globally, Playtech has a minimal US market share.
Currently, US players can find some Playtech slots at BetMGM Casino and smaller New Jersey online casinos, like Bet365 Casino. Titles include the popular buffalo-themed Buffalo Blitz, White King, and Great Blue.
Unfortunately, some of Playtech’s most popular slots, including Ugga Bugga and the Age of the Gods series, are missing in action.
Aside from slots, Playtech offers live dealer games, including blackjack and roulette, in New Jersey and Michigan.
Also, the company entered the US sports betting market in February. Playtech signed a deal with Gold Rush Gaming to provide the technology and software for Gold Rush’s Ohio sportsbook.
With the new partnership with Hard Rock, Playtech will have an opportunity to increase its US presence.
In addition to current slots offered at BetMGM Casino, it might bring more titles to Hard Rock Casino.
Also, with Hard Rock’s expansion plans, we could see Playtech games and other gaming technology in additional states.