Hard Rock Digital, the interactive gaming and sports betting firm owned by Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming, is establishing a new division dedicated to developing social casino games. The company is forming a social gaming group called Hard Rock Games.
Florida online casinos are not legal in the Sunshine State. However, some social and sweepstakes sites offer online slots for people to play. Now, the Seminole Tribe is looking to tap into that customer base.
Hard Rock Games to offer free-to-play online and mobile games
Hard Rock Digital recently bought WGames, a leading mobile gaming company that develops free-to-play social games. Following the acquisition, Hard Rock began forming its own social casino platform. Officials say Hard Rock Games will benefit from enhanced in-house technology and operational and development capabilities to accelerate its social gaming growth.
“With the addition of WGames’ world class games, technology and operations, we have set the stage to accelerate growth for our social gaming business,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, Executive Managing Director of Hard Rock Digital. “Hard Rock Games’ enhanced capabilities will allow us to better engage our worldwide player communities with exceptional digital experiences and entertain our players like no one else can.”
WGames’ popular titles include Jackpot Planet and Neverland Casino. Daniel Kajouie, who founded WGames, will serve as Managing Director of Hard Rock Games. He says he’s excited about the WGames titles joining the Hard Rock Games library.
“It’s truly an honor to be part of the incredible Hard Rock organization, a global entertainment and hospitality leader, and we look forward to developing immersive gaming experiences for our millions of customers worldwide,” said Kajouie.
The Hard Rock Games’ portfolio includes Seminole Slots, Hard Rock Adventures, and Hard Rock Blackjack & Casino. Hard Rock Games are free to download and play. In-app purchases allow players to buy additional gaming credits once their free allotments run out.
Hard Rock Games will integrate Unity by Hard Rock, the loyalty program of the Hard Rock casinos. This will give players the ability to build up Unity Points. Those points can be used for various benefits at Hard Rock cafes, hotels, resorts, casinos, gift shops and more. Players can use Unity points at 13 Hard Rock casinos in North America and Hard Rock Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Will social casinos pave the way for Florida online casinos?
The launch of Hard Rock Games coincides with the Hard Rock Bet Sportsbook launch in Florida. The Seminole tribe appears to be expanding its monopoly on gaming in Florida by establishing this new business unit.
After diving into the world of social casinos and launching Florida sports betting, are online casinos next? Seminole Gaming CEO and Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen has previously said that iGaming could be a welcomed addition to the state.
Allen believes the potential future of online casinos in Florida will look similar to what the landscape looks like in other states where iGaming is legal. He says the goal is to work directly with state leaders and online casino operators to make Florida online casinos a realistic possibility.
Although players can’t win real money on social gaming apps, they can spend it. Social casinos are growing in popularity, and growing a social casino customer base in Florida could very well lead to a head start with a real-money casino customer base if and when Florida online casinos become legal.
However, some states are now scrambling to regulate the industry further. In Michigan, where online casinos are legal, regulators banned social casino operator Golden Heart Games because they deemed it illegal gambling. That led to a domino effect that saw several sweepstake casino brands leave the Michigan market.
Florida will likely be different. Because the Seminole tribe has such a massive influence on the state’s gaming industry, it’s hard to imagine a situation where the tribe isn’t at the forefront of any iGaming push in Florida.