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Rafi Ashkenazi to lead new Hard Rock Digital joint venture

15th December 2020 10:14 am GMT
Rafi Ashkenazi

Hard Rock International has established a new joint venture focused on global sports betting and iGaming opportunities, with former Stars Group chief executive Rafi Ashkenazi brought in to lead the business.

Hard Rock Digital will be the exclusive vehicle for the online and retail sports betting and iGaming operations of Hard Rock and its owner Seminole Gaming (SGA), a division of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Based in Hollywood, Florida, the venture will aim to leverage Hard Rock and SGA's extensive database of more than 130m customers and footprint of nearly 250 land-based venues across 76 countries.

Ashkenazi will lead the new JV as executive managing director and executive chair. He is joined by two of his former Stars Group executives and previous Gaming Intelligence Hot 50 honourees; Marlon Goldstein as executive managing director and CEO, and Matt Primeaux as executive managing director and president. 

Ashkenazi will join Hard Rock Digital in 2021 following a gardening leave period, with the new management team reporting to a newly formed independent board of directors which will be chaired by Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen.

“With the launch of Hard Rock Digital, we are broadening our digital business which enhances consumer experiences and offerings across our interactive gaming and sportsbook offerings,” said Allen. “Hard Rock Digital also intends to pursue strategic branding and distribution opportunities both within the US and globally.”

Hard Rock Digital executive managing director and CEO Marlon Goldstein commented: “We are honored to join forces with Hard Rock International on this new venture. Hard Rock International is consistently at the forefront of innovation and vision in the gaming industry and the 'Hard Rock' gaming, hospitality and entertainment venues are iconic worldwide. 

“We look forward to providing an authentic, digital experience for Hard Rock's global fan base within a comprehensive, omni-channel offering.”

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