Hard Rock Bet Could Soon Be Third Largest US Sportsbook

Written By Play FL Editorial Team on July 3, 2024
The exterior of the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, also owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida

Hard Rock Bet’s monopoly on sports betting in Florida has helped the sportsbook become a Top 5 operator nationally.

The gaming consulting and market research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming says Hard Rock now has the fifth-highest sports betting market share in the US, according to Steve Ruddock’s Straight to the Point newsletter.

EKG predicts Hard Rock will move up to the third position before year’s end. That would place its national market share behind only DraftKings and FanDuel.

Sunshine State key to Hard Rock’s national market-share rise

Florida is the US’s third most-populous state, and it is the most populous state that currently allows legal sports betting. Florida sports betting relaunched last November after briefly operating in 2021.

With its monopoly on sports betting in Florida, Hard Rock’s revenue from the state has been the key to the sportsbook’s boost in national market share.

The sportsbook, operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, has nearly overtaken fourth-place operator Caesars and is just one percentage point behind third-place BetMGM.

Hard Rock Bet is expected to launch in Michigan before the end of the year. Although it will be hard-pressed to challenge Michigan’s two top online sportsbooks, FanDuel and DraftKings, it is expected to be competitive among the state’s second-tier operators. Hard Rock’s impending sports betting revenue from Michigan is likely what will help the sportsbook overtake Caesars and BetMGM nationally.

But Hard Rock’s market share surge wouldn’t be happening without Florida. An EKG report from late last year said Hard Rock already had the sixth-highest national sports betting market share, surpassing BetRivers, PointsBet, and bet365. The company’s 4% market-share boost was based in part on limited revenue numbers from Hard Rock Bet’s November 2023 soft launch in Florida.

Hard Rock Bet underperforming in other states

Hard Rock Bet is also currently available in Arizona, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. The online sportsbook hasn’t performed especially well in those states, regularly generating revenue that puts it near the bottom of the second-tier operators.

New Jersey, the second biggest sports betting market in the US, released operator-specific sports betting revenue for the first time this past March. For Q1 2024 in the Garden State, Hard Rock Bet ranked seventh out of 17 sportsbooks in revenue, behind the likes of Pointsbet, BetMGM, bet365, and Caesars.

Ohio is the next biggest sports betting market in which Hard Rock Bet is available. The mobile sportsbook performs similarly in the Buckeye State, regularly posting less revenue than second-tier operators ESPN Bet, Caesars, BetMGM, Fanatics, and bet365. In May, Hard Rock Bet’s online sportsbook revenue in Ohio was just $343,000, less than Tipico Sportsbook.

Florida on track to be one of the top sports betting states

EKG’s new market share report comes just weeks after the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lawsuit related to Florida’s sports betting model. That allowed Hard Rock Bet to remain the only sportsbook available statewide in Florida.

Hard Rock Bet relaunched for all users in Florida late last year after shutting down in 2021 due to legal challenges. Hard Rock’s Florida handle and revenue numbers haven’t been made publicly available. But reports surfaced in March that Florida’s share of 2024 sports betting revenue since November 2023’s soft launch was already at $120 million.

Under terms of its compact with the Seminoles, Florida receives 10% of Hard Rock Bet’s statewide revenue.

With those kinds of numbers, some think Florida could challenge New York as the top sports betting market in the country. The Empire State led the nation with $1.7 billion in sports betting revenue in 2023.

Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen told CNBC late last year that he thought Florida had a chance to overtake New York thanks to the Sunshine State’s more reasonable tax rate:

“I think it’s certainly possible (for Florida to have higher revenue than New York). What’s unique about Florida is, (it’s) a state of 21-22 million people, but much more importantly the tax rate is much more competitive here. The tax rate in New York is over 50%. And frankly, companies like ours didn’t even pursue (a New York license) because they had a (51%) tax rate, and honestly, you cannot make money.”

Photo by AP Photo / Wayne Parry
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