With the Ritz Club Casino closing its doors permanently, it was only going to be a matter of time before the vultures began to circle. So it is that Hard Rock International, the company behind the Hard Rock chain, has bought the gambling licence from the once famous venue. That doesn’t mean that the location in the ballroom of the Ritz Hotel is becoming a Hard Rock venue, but rather that the company is buying the right to operate casino in London and can now expand its portfolio of venues in the English capital, joining the likes of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Casino licenses aren’t linked to the location of the licence, so it will be possible for Hard Rock to open a casino in a brand new location. Hard Rock as a company tends to open casinos in locations that it considered to be ‘gateways’, with the likes of New York, Madrid and Paris already having Hard Rock venues of one sort or another. London is a natural place to be added to the list, with reports suggesting that the company might look to open a new casino in the company’s London hotel, which is located on the corner of Park Lane and Oxford Street.
A Globally Recognisable Brand
Hard Rock International is considered to be one of the world’s most globally recognised brands. It has worked hard to create one of the most valuable music memorabilia collections on the planet, which began with the purchase of a guitar that belonged to Eric Clapton. Nowadays it boasts more than 86,000 pieces, which are spread throughout its venues around the world. Forbes Magazine declare Hard Rock one of its Best Employers for Diversity in 2020, with it having already been named a Top Employer for Women the year before by the same publication.
Two of the properties that Hard Rock already own include its venue in South Florida, which was the world’s first Guitar Hotel when it opened and became Global Gaming’s Property of the Year in 2020. The company runs venues in 240 locations across 69 countries, with one of the best-known casinos being the one in Las Vegas, which had been part of the strip since it opened in 1995 before closing in February last year in order to undergo renovations and be re-branded as a Virgin Hotel, with the chain having bought it in 2018 with the plan to do exactly that.
Expanding the Brand in London
The decision to purchase the casino licence from the Ritz Club was one that will allow the brand to expand further in London. There is already a Hard Rock Hotel in the capital, with the company’s International Chairman, Jim Allen, saying, “We look forward to expanding our brand offerings within London and bringing our award-winning hospitality, gaming and entertainment to the birthplace of Hard Rock.” The casino will join the Hard Rock Hotel and the Hard Rock Cafés that are already operating in London to ensure that its brand recognition goes even further.
Just last month the Hard Rock brand struck a deal with former Stars Group executives in order to launch a joint-venture in digital gaming. The likes of Rafi Ashkenazi, the former Chief Executive Officer of Stars Group, is part of the new venture, which is about launching an omni-channel sports betting and iGaming business around the world. It certainly won’t hurt their plans to have a casino in the British capital, which has been part of the Hard Rock story from the very start. The only question that remains to be answered at this stage is where the new casino will be located.