Playtech has purchased a minority equity ownership stake in Hard Rock Digital (HRD), the interactive gaming and sports betting division of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming, as part of a wider deal between the two businesses.

Playtech will pay $85.0m (£69.8m/€79.5m) for a low, single-digit percentage stake in HRD, with proceeds from the investment to fund HRD’s global expansion.

Hard Rock’s online and retail sports betting is currently operated in select US states including Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. It aims to extend its online sportsbook and igaming offerings to select international markets in the coming years.

Global supply deal

As part of the wider arrangement with Playtech, HRD will license a range of the developer’s technology solutions and igaming content.

In the US and Canada, HRD’s customers will be able to play a selection of Playtech’s slots, random number generator and live dealer table games through HRD’s existing proprietary platform and technology offering.

These products will also be rolled out outside the US and Canada, with HRD to also have access to additional software and services solutions from Playtech including its IMS player management platform and certain ancillary services such as operational, customer support, payment advisory and marketing services.

Playtech will supply its products and services predominantly on a revenue share basis under long-term commercial agreements. The developer added that it expects minimal impact from the deal on its B2B results in FY23, with contribution to B2B revenue set to rise in FY24.

Advanced position

“The Playtech team is thrilled to announce our strategic partnership with HRD,” Playtech chief executive Mor Weizer said. “Hard Rock International has cemented itself as a marquee name worldwide, not just in gambling, but more widely in entertainment.

“HRD will combine the strength of this global brand with a proven management team, some of whom we at Playtech have known for many years and believe to be among the strongest in the online gambling industry.

“For Playtech, this partnership significantly advances our position in the North American market and is very much in line with our B2B strategy.”

Hard Rock Digital was established in December 2020, led by Stars Group and Fox Bet veterans. PokerStars’ former chief legal officer Marlon Goldstein serves as its CEO, with former Stars CEO Rafi Ashkenazi named executive managing director and executive chair.

Hard Rock International and HRD chairman, Jim Allen, added: “This partnership will act as an accelerator to Hard Rock Digital’s planned strategic initiative to expand its online gaming offerings to international markets, becoming the first operator with a global omnichannel offering under a singular, irreplaceable brand.

“This announcement only reinforces our commitment to lead innovation in the gaming industry and expand the ‘Hard Rock’ experience worldwide. We look forward to providing an authentic, digital experience for Hard Rock’s global fan base within a comprehensive, omnichannel offering.”

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