Hard Rock Digital officially joined the Arizona betting scene last week, thanks to its partnership with the Navajo Nation.
Hard Rock Digital’s Arizona operation joins its existing markets in Virginia, Iowa and New Jersey, speaking to the company’s rapid growth in the mobile sports betting and iGaming space.
The company, which is wholly owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, has grand plans for its mobile product in the months ahead, both inside and outside of the state’s limits.
BetArizona.com recently chatted with Matt Primeaux, who serves as Hard Rock Digital’s executive managing director, to get a sense of how the company sees the Arizona sports betting market fitting into its overall vision.
Below is a transcript of that conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.
BetArizona.com: Arizona betting apps have been live for almost eight months now. With that in mind, what kind of impact do you see Hard Rock Sportsbook having in the state?
Matt Primeaux: Hard Rock Sportsbook is taking a different approach than our major competitors. As we release our new app both in Arizona and throughout the country, we are focused on providing customers with an engaging experience rooted in the entertainment aspects of the Hard Rock brand. We are building a robust, sustainable business for the long term, and aren’t interested in simply buying market share at an irrational price. Our teams are observing market conditions, investing in our supporting technology and technology stacks, and honing our product offering with the goal of creating player relationships that move beyond the transactional nature of our industry.
BetArizona.com: How does Arizona’s market fit into Hard Rock’s overall sports betting strategy?
Primeaux: Arizona represents the first launch in our multi-state rollout of the new Hard Rock Sportsbook platform, an enhanced version of what was available in Florida. We’ve put a lot of focus on the development of our technology platform and look forward to player reaction and feedback as we continue to build new experiences in the space.
Hard Rock Digital is still a very young entity. We truly believe that we have set ourselves up for long-term success by hiring the best, owning our own technology and development pipeline, bringing in modern technologies and approaches that haven’t historically existed in the gambling space, and tapping into the extensive portfolio of Hard Rock brand assets including its casinos, hotels, cafes, concert venues, and music history.
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BetArizona.com: What’s the significance of Hard Rock, being a tribal-owned sportsbook operator, to partner with a tribe like the Navajo?
Primeaux: From our first meeting with Navajo Gaming, it was clear that we were going to be a great fit for one another. It’s a true partnership. They have an amazing casino property that will make Arizona an omnichannel innovation testbed to help sharpen our execution on the convergence of in-person and online betting. Navajo Gaming has been an incredible partner and we’re excited to expand on the partnership.
BetArizona.com: How does Arizona’s sports betting market relate to the other states that Hard Rock Sportsbook has already launched in, in terms of revenue potential?
Primeaux: Each market has its own unique intricacies. We evaluate markets through the lens of unit economic contributions and whether we believe current market dynamics will allow us to operate at rational unit economics and provide a great user experience for players. Among other innovations, we believe that continued investment in our supporting technologies and the unique experiences we can provide players will be key differentiators in our ability to compete at the highest levels on a long-term basis. We’re incredibly excited about the pipeline our Austin, Texas, product development teams are working towards and the initiatives our Florida marketing and operations teams continue to advance.
BetArizona.com: What do you think people that read this should know about Hard Rock Sportsbook’s Arizona launch?
Primeaux: We’re excited to launch our new platform and re-introduce the Hard Rock experience to Arizona. Hard Rock is an entertainment and lifestyle brand. In building Hard Rock Digital, we felt it was important to be able to bring the Hard Rock experience to online consumers, and to do so with people that have a proven background. Our management team consists of veterans from within the gambling industry and non-gaming powerhouses, including a talented marketing team consisting of leadership from Twitch, PlayStation, Google, and Facebook. While our physical assets and brand recognition are top decile in almost every jurisdiction Hard Rock operates, we aim to crack the digitization of those experiences and to bring them to an even broader group of customers. That’s our end goal, and while it will take some time, it’s something we’re relentlessly pushing towards.