A conversation with Matt Primeaux, president of Hard Rock Digital. By David McKee

Few days in the year are holier to Americans than Super Bowl Sunday. It’s the culmination of months of National League Football action and weeks of intense playoff rivalry. This year saw the rare and much-anticipated matchup between the two highest-seeded teams in the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs won but the real victors were sports books.

If NFL football is a high-stakes game, it takes on a newer and wider meaning every year as legalized sports betting continues to spread across the U.S. Ever since the overturning of the Bradley Act in 2018, casino-based sports betting has been on the march and Hard Rock International hasn’t been left by the wayside. Although constitutionally prohibited from taking wagers in its home state of Florida, Hard Rock is in some the biggest U.S. sports-betting markets, particularly New Jersey and newly legitimized Ohio, where its sports book opened last Jan. 1.

Matt Primeaux, President of Hard Rock Digital

To get an idea of the scope of the Super Bowl phenomenon, we sat down with Hard Rock Digital President Matt Primeaux in February. Our conversation is as follows …

How much Super Bowl action have you seen to date across all your sports books?

We’re really looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday and what promises to be a great game between the two best teams from the regular season. Everyone loves upsets but as a fan it’s always fun when you have the top teams playing for a title. It’s an exciting matchup, and we’re seeing a flurry of betting action on the Super Bowl both on mobile and at our retail locations.

Is the volume of betting at the Cincinnati sports book adversely affected by the Cincinnati Bengals’ exclusion from the Super Bowl?

Since the New Years launch of sports betting in Ohio, we’ve seen local fans backing their teams and this was certainly true with the Bengals, especially during their playoff run. In Ohio, roughly 90 percent of bets were backing the Bengals during their playoff games. It was a tough end to the Bengals’ season, but there’s always going to be a great deal of interest in the Super Bowl in Ohio – especially the first with legal sports betting – and the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is expecting a great crowd for their Big Game Watch Party.

How much do you expect wagering to ramp up between now and the actual game?

With an extra week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, you have a rush of initial bets, and then there’s a brief lull during the bye week. Starting Sunday, we expect the volume to gradually increase each day as excitement builds and then really intensify during the last few hours prior to kickoff. It used to end there but live betting during the game is now a large part of our business, so the wagering really doesn’t stop until the final whistle.

hard rock image interiror sports book bar

What is the volume of prop bets like and what are some examples of props you’re offering?

It’s been fun to see all these bets come in! So many sports bettors have a background in fantasy football and that familiarity with player stats has fueled the popularity of prop bets. We’re proud to offer thousands of prop bets for every NFL game but this is the Super Bowl and of course, we’ll have a few additional markets. First and anytime touchdown scorers, and Same Game Parlays continue to be our most popular prop bets. We also have something fun on our app where you can pit two players’ head-to-head and wager on who will have the most of almost any stat like receiving yards or touchdowns.

We’ve also added hundreds of markets for the Super Bowl and, depending on your local regulations, you can bet on the color of the coach’s Gatorade bath, the coin toss, the results of coach’s challenges or something we like to call the Octopus – whether a player will score a touchdown and a two-point conversion on the same possession.

hard rock image interiror sports book

With whom does Hard Rock partner to offer sports betting?

Through its investment in Hard Rock Digital and our sports book platform, Hard Rock has shown its commitment to being a major player in the sports betting space. It would have been easy to partner with a provider or simply white-label a platform. Instead we’ve built out a product team in Austin, invested in infrastructure and created a unique product from the ground up. The introduction of our new platform last year demonstrated our development and commitment to the sports betting space, along with our recent expansion to five additional states on mobile and opening three retail Hard Rock Sportsbook locations. We’re looking forward to introducing an iCasino product and continued expansion to new markets in 2023.

hard rock image

How heavy are the promotional offers that are going out to prospective players?

We pride ourselves on offering fun, innovative promotions rather than just simply handing out transactional ‘free money’ to our players. Our focus is on creating unique experiences within our product, like our Mystery Wheel, which gamifies the signup process and offers up to five chances to win $5,000 in bonus bets as a welcome to new players, and daily promotions and boosts that are personalized to our players’ interests. Hard Rock Sportsbook has a number of promotions for the Super Bowl, including my favorite one where we’re offering a hedge against a competitor’s celebrity [Rob Gronkowski] field goal kick. We’re encouraging our players to Fade the Field and Hedge with Hard Rock!

*** This exclusive feature interview with Matt Primeaux President of Hard Rock Digital was originally Published in Sports Betting Operator Magazine in July 2023 ***

BETWEEN A HARD ROCK AND A SUPER BOWL was first seen on Sports Betting Operator