The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is the new name being given to the Trump Taj Mahal, which closed in October and is undergoing a renovation under its new owners, Hard Rock International.
Built at a cost of more than $1 billion, Trump Taj Mahal first opened in 1990. It was the largest casino in the world at the time.
Financial issues plagued the property from the beginning. Despite being the top grossing casino in Atlantic City prior to the opening of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2003, Trump Taj Mahal underwent numerous bankruptcy proceedings and ownership changes over its quarter-century of operation.
Trump Taj Mahal was among the first Atlantic City casinos to obtain a NJ online gambling operators license. Through a partnership with Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Las Vegas’ Station Casinos, Trump Taj Mahal launched Ultimate Casino in November 2013. The online casino site offered a limited number of slots, video poker, online table games, and an online poker client.
While initially successful, Ultimate Casino quickly fell to the bottom of the list of New Jersey online casinos in terms of revenue. By September 2014, with Trump Taj Mahal filing for bankruptcy yet again, payment issues forced Ultimate Gaming to pull out and Ultimate Casino was shut down.
Trump Taj Mahal itself closed on Oct. 10, 2016, in the middle of a labor dispute.
Hard Rock plans $375 million renovation
Hard Rock International announced it had acquired the Trump Taj Mahal in early 2017. The company unveiled plans for its redevelopment into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. The property is currently undergoing a $375 million renovation with plans to reopen under the new brand’s banner in the summer of 2018.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City plans to include a casino with 2,400 slots and 130 table games. The interior will be redesigned and feature first-class food and beverage concepts. This will include the Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City, which will move into a new 400-seat venue in the center of the property.
The newly renovated property will include Hard Rock International’s notable design and branding, featuring pieces from the world’s largest and most priceless music memorabilia collection.
Amenities will also include two arenas with more than 7,000 seats total, a reimagined entrance and guest rooms, meeting and convention space, and a full-service spa.
Hard Rock brass have indicated an interest in contributing to the revitalization of Atlantic City. The advent of online casino operations has helped turn around a decade of revenue declines for Atlantic City casinos. So it’s likely Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will be looking to get in on that side of the local gaming industry as well.
Marketing, promotions, and rewards
Hard Rock International likely understands that competing in the growing Atlantic City online casino market will require offering one of the biggest and most comprehensive libraries of slots, video poker, and casino games available.
Plus, deposit bonuses need to be on par or in excess of those offered by established industry leaders.
The existing online casinos in New Jersey have had a few years’ head start. This means Hard Rock will have to offer a massive variety of casino games and competitive deposit bonuses to attract new players.
The Seminole wild card
Hard Rock International already runs a very popular and successful casino player loyalty program at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida, and four other smaller Native American casino locations throughout Florida.
The Seminole Wild Card program allows players to earn Comp Dollars at every Seminole Casino and Hard Rock property. Further perks include invitations to exclusive events, giveaways, and concert ticket offers. Players earn Comp Dollars playing live poker, casino games, and slots.
Players 21 years and older can sign up for free with a photo ID. The Wild Card can also be used for:
- Free play
- Hotel & spa discounts
- Priority restaurant reservations
- Show pre-sale access and seat upgrades
- VIP parking access
Assuming regulatory approval by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is likely to allow players entry into the same Seminole Wild Card program offered at its Florida properties. At the very least, the new property will create a similar program exclusive to Atlantic City players.
Both the online entity and land-based property will look to take advantage of cross-promotional opportunities that draw patrons to all its offerings.
Hard Rock online casino software
Hard Rock is going to want to offer an online casino and poker client that is easy to navigate, pleasing to the eye, and includes a number of value-added features for players. A no-download, browser-based interface should be available for all PC and Mac users, and it should be compatible with Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer browsers.
Of course, players will be expected to install a geolocation plug-in to make sure the site can tell they are inside New Jersey when they play.
The Golden Nugget online casino has taken over the lead in the battle to offer the New Jersey online casino industry’s largest selection of games and casino content. The Golden Nugget’s road map to success is clear: Bigger is better.
If Hard Rock wants to compete, it will need to offer one of the largest libraries of online casino games on the market from the jump. Hard Rock can design games and software from the ground up. But it might find it faster and less expensive to consider aligning with online gaming software partners that have already established themselves in the market.
- High 5 Games
- Scientific Games Corporation
- 888 Holdings
- GVC (bwin.party)
Games at Hard Rock casino online
Hard Rock will need to offer a wide variety of video poker games. At the very least, basic video poker titles with favorable pay schedules will need to be there, including:
- Double Bonus Poker
- Double Double Bonus Poker
- Deuces Wild
- Jacks or Better
- Bonus Poker
Blackjack at Hard Rock NJ online casino
A Hard Rock NJ online casino will need to offer a wide variety of NJ online blackjack games, with basics including:
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Multihand Blackjack
- Atlantic City Blackjack
Hard Rock online casino slots
In order to compete in the already slot-saturated market in New Jersey, Hard Rock will have to offer hundreds of slot titles. Some of the most popular slots on the market include:
- Jimi Hendrix
- Michael Jackson: King of Pop
- Guns n’ Roses
- Iron Man 2
- Deal or No Deal
- Super Monopoly Money
If Hard Rock wants to offer a comprehensive casino and gaming experience online, it must offer a solid variety of casino games players expect to find.
Hard Rock may consider offering an online poker client or live dealer games as well. These popular casino games are a must:
Hard Rock mobile casino app
Any Hard Rock NJ mobile gaming application will need to be as robust as the desktop version of the online casino. Player should be able to download it through the main casino site on smartphone or tablets. And it should also be available through the Android app store and iTunes for iOS users.
Mobile gaming provides a big opportunity for new entries into the NJ online casino market, as most have yet to tap its full potential. If Hard Rock can provide a mobile gaming experience close to what desktop users find, grabbing market share should be possible.
The layout must be easy to navigate. It must include substantial account management features. Plus, the number of games needs to be on par with what players find on their desktop.
If Hard Rock has a chance to separate itself from other competitors in the NJ online casino market, it is by offering a mobile version of the casino software that’s filled with 200 or more games. A number of different slots, blackjack, table games, and video poker variants need to be available on the mobile app.
Banking options at Hard Rock online casino
A Hard Rock online casino needs to be set up to accept:
- Prepaid cards
- Electronic checks
- Bank wire
- Cash at the TEN cage
Players should be able to receive winnings in the same manner they deposited money.
Any Hard Rock online casino platform should be ready to offer around-the-clock support, including:
- Live chat
- Phone support
- Email support