Hard Rock Executive: 2024 Is “When It All Comes Together”

Written By C.J. Pierre on January 6, 2024 - Last Updated on January 8, 2024
Puzzle pieces coming together for a story about how a Hard Rock International executive believes the new year will spell good things for the company.

The Seminole Tribe has high hopes for 2024.

The new year could bring big things for Hard Rock International, the Seminole Tribe’s corporate entity. Hard Rock is set to take firm control over the Florida gaming market.

This is coming off an exciting 2023 for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Last year, the tribe won a pivotal court case that reinstated the 2021 Florida gaming compact.

As a result, the tribe was the main beneficiary of a massive gaming expansion. Florida online sports betting returned when the tribe relaunched its online sportsbook, Hard Rock Bet, in November.

After that, the tribe added retail sports betting, craps and roulette to its Florida casinos in December. This year, the tribe stands to reap the benefits of the gains they made in 2023.

Yogonet recently spoke with Jeff Hook, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Hard Rock International, to look ahead at what 2024 has in store for Florida’s top gaming operator.

Hard Rock’s 2024 expectations

Hook referenced how well Hard Rock could set itself up for a great 2024 by investments made years prior.

He said the expansions to Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, which included the famous guitar-shaped hotel, were completed in late 2019. Hook added that things took a turn when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. More challenges arose with the legal battle the Florida 2021 gaming compact is involved in.

However, Hook says the company is now looking towards the future.

“Two steps forward, three steps back in some ways. Then in 2021, the tribe signed the compact with the state that would later be challenged and put on hold,” said Hook. “The good news is we’re past that. We view 2024 as the year when it all comes together.”

One of the most important things that will power Hard Rock’s strong 2024 is its significant investment in technology. That includes its new worldwide loyalty program called Unity. Hook says when the program is complete, it will connect all 250-plus Hard Rock and Seminole properties in Florida and across 70 countries.

“In early 2024, we’ll have our world-class destinations in Florida with a full complement of games serviced by employees who are engaged and happy, and all connected to the rest of the world via Unity by Hard Rock,” said Hook.

Will Florida become a top US sports betting market?

Hard Rock is not viewed as a sports betting power like DraftKings and FanDuel are. However, thanks to the Seminole Tribe, Hard Rock Bet Sportsbook Florida holds the monopoly in the sports betting market of the third most populous state in the country.

Everywhere else, customers have a wide variety of sports wagering options. But in Florida, Hard Rock is essentially the only game in town. Thus, the company can expect a considerable revenue boost in 2024.

Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen has expressed optimism for Florida. One gaming analyst projects Florida could generate up to $1.5 billion in revenue at full maturity. Allen believes it won’t take long for Florida to compete with or top New York, the largest sports betting market in the country.

“What’s unique about Florida is it is a state with 22 million people. But more importantly, the tax rate is much more competitive here,” said Allen. The tax rate in New York is over 50%. And frankly companies like ours, we didn’t even pursue it. Because at a 50% tax rate, you honestly can not make money.”

The interesting thing is that unless the status of the Florida gaming market changes, a majority of the money will come solely from Hard Rock and the Seminole Tribe. That’s unlike any other sports wagering market in the US. We’ll have to wait and see just how much the Florida monopoly helps the operator in 2024. However, it’s fair to say that this could be one of the most profitable years in the company’s history.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayFL. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino, sports betting and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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