Hard Rock Int’l taps Stars Group execs for new iGaming, betting JV


Casino operator Hard Rock International (HRI) has launched a new iGaming and sports betting joint venture with a trio of former The Stars Group (TSG) execs.  

On Monday, HRI announced the launch of Hard Rock Digital (HRD), which will serve as “the exclusive Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming (SGA) vehicle for interactive gaming and sports betting, globally.” HRD will be “fully capitalized by SGA, HRI and its partners, providing full financial backing for this new joint venture.” 

Speaking of those partners, they include TSG’s ex-CEO Rafi Ashkenazi, who stepped down from his former company in March following its acquisition by UK giant Flutter Entertainment. Ashkenazi (pictured) will serve as HRD’s executive chairman starting sometime next year following a ‘garden leave’ period from his former role.  

Also joining HRD is former TSG legal eagle Marlon Goldstein, who will serve as the JV’s CEO, while Matt Primeaux, who formerly headed up TSG’s US-facing operations, who will serve as HRD’s president. All three former TSG luminaries will also serve as executive managing directors. 

HRI chairman Jim Allen will serve as HRD’s chairman from the Seminole Tribe’s base in Hollywood, Florida. Allen said HRD represented HRI “broadening our digital business” while also pursuing “strategic branding and distribution opportunities both within the US and globally.” 

HRI’s New Jersey online casino generated revenue of $6.3m in November, up 189% year-on-year, while its online sports betting offering added $363k.

 It’s unclear what Monday’s announcement might portend for HRI’s current iGaming/sports betting partner Scientific Games Corp, which went unmentioned in Monday’s announcement. It was only late-September that the parties announced an extension of their existing relationship to cover digital and retail operations in Iowa and New Jersey. 

The Hardrockdigital.com site currently features a lengthy list of available positions based either in Florida, Atlantic City or Austin, Texas. Everything from engineering, design, marketing, operations and corporate is up for grabs, so stop reading this and start polishing those resumes already.