Hard Rock Flexes Betting Muscles As Florida Looms

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As those in Indian Country and many other locales across the sports betting landscape anxiously await the next moves from Florida’s Seminole Tribe or the pair of parimutuels that sued the federal government over the tribe’s monopoly on digital wagering, Hard Rock rolled out a new look and a new way to play this week.

Hard Rock, owned by the Seminole Tribe, relaunched its Hard Rock Sportsbook on Monday as Hard Rock Bet in Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia, with New Jersey’s changeover scheduled to happen later this summer. The company’s sportsbook was active for just over a month in Florida in late 2021.

Jon Chapper, senior director of communications for Hard Rock Bet, told Sports Handle that the “ideation process” for a new platform dates to early 2022, and the concept was to create an integrated online casino and sportsbook platform. He added that the company “wanted a new name for our integrated platform and is eager to introduce our players to the Hard Rock Bet brand and experience” ahead of launching its proprietary online casino in New Jersey

On June 30, an appellate court unanimously reversed a lower-court decision in the Florida case, meaning that if the losing parimutuel, West Flagler and Associates, takes no action, the Seminoles could potentially launch their Hard Rock platform in Florida as early as August. Should that happen, the tribe would have a monopoly on digital gaming in what’s currently the biggest legal wagering state in the nation.

Parlay bettors can win even if they lose

While the new branding puts Hard Rock’s signature guitar front and center, the biggest change is the sportsbook’s new “flex parlay” feature, in which bettors can place a parlay but choose the number of legs needed to win.

Hard Rock Bet’s all-new flex parlays solve the never-ending problem of having a multi-bet parlay ruined by a bad beat,” said Chapper. “With our flex parlays, your parlay can still win even if a few bets lose. It’s a new, better way to parlay that you’ll only find at Hard Rock Bet. Just build your parlay and then flip the flex parlay switch to choose a minimum number of bets that must hit for you to win.” 

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This feature, first of its kind at America’s sportsbooks, allows bettors to choose between three and 10 legs. Toggling the “flex parlay” button allows bettors to choose how many legs they need to hit in order to win. The odds for each change dynamically.

For instance, a three-team parlay with all the legs at -110 would pay +596 straight up. Choosing to have just two of the legs come in with a flex parlay would lower the odds to -143.

For four- and five-leg parlays, Hard Rock Bet allows bettors to flex parlay for either two or three of the legs to hit. Six-leg parlays allow for four or five of the legs to hit, seven-leg parlays allow for between four and six legs to hit, eight-leg parlays allow for between five and seven legs to hit, nine-leg parlays allow for between five and eight legs to hit, and 10-leg parlays allow for between six and nine legs to hit. 

New loyalty program has Tesla at the end

Hard Rock Bet has also updated its loyalty program, with one of the more interesting quirks being that bettors can estimate how many loyalty points they’ll receive for each bet, which will depend on amount wagered, the odds offered, and what tier the bettor is currently at.

In addition to being able to redeem reward points for free bets, cash, and bonus spins, the biggest potential reward — for 6 million loyalty points — is a Tesla Model Y.

“While many other programs have implemented annualized or monthly leveling up, our program will reward players immediately with new tier status to allow them to access benefits and earn points with a higher multiplier instantly,” Chapper said. “This leveling up provides immense benefits to players like earning points with a multiplier up to 10x, specialized daily boosts and promotions, and personalized support.”

If you’re in Florida, you’ll have to wait

While players in five states are already enjoying the perks of Hard Rock’s revamped loyalty program and a new way to wager, those in Florida remain in a holding pattern.

Since the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, both the Seminoles and West Flagler have remained mum. Immediately after the ruling, a Seminole spokesperson said the “tribe is fully reviewing the decision to determine next steps,” while attorneys representing West Flagler have not responded when asked to comment.

Should West Flagler opt to let the decision stand, the Seminoles could launch in Florida in late August. According to the decision and a clerk’s note, the ruling won’t become a mandate until 52 days after it came down on June 30. That would be Aug. 21, five days ahead of the first Saturday of college football games and two-and-a-half weeks ahead of the first NFL game of the regular season between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 7. The first full Sunday of games is set for Sept. 10.

But that launch might not happen, at least not in the near future. According to legal experts, West Flagler has multiple options at its disposal to keep the Seminoles offline. The parimutuel could file for a new hearing or an en banc hearing in the appellate court, which would keep the current stay on launching in place; file a stay and a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case; or file for a stay and a new lawsuit in state court.


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