We will soon see a spike in the number of legal online sports betting sites in Illinois. One of the new operators is Hard Rock.
Hard Rock is a major name in entertainment and sports betting. The company also just unveiled a complete makeover of its mobile app, now called Hard Rock Bet, that will soon be live in six states, not, yet, including Illinois.
PlayIllinois took a closer look at how Hard Rock Bet works in those other states and what sports bettors can expect when it launches in The Prairie State.
How the Hard Rock Bet mobile app operates
The approval from the IGB comes as Hard Rock recently unveiled a new-look mobile sportsbook app, rebranding it as Hard Rock Bet.
The upgraded site and app are both now live in Arizona, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. New Jersey will also be getting the upgrade, but it may not come until closer to the start of the NFL betting season.
Officials say the rebranding of its online sportsbook brings the digital gaming unit in line with the operator’s overall brand. Hard Rock Bet features the company’s iconic guitar logo as the app’s icon. The rebrand also brings a new, sleeker appearance and new features.
Hard Rock Bet also updated its loyalty program. Bettors can estimate how many loyalty points they’ll receive for each bet, which depends on the amount wagered, the odds offered and what tier the bettor is on.
Hard Rock Bet’s unique Flex Parlays
The rebrand looks great. However, the most prominent new feature that people in the Illinois sports betting scene will enjoy is Hard Rock Bet’s Flex Parlays. This feature allows players to make a parlay but decide how many legs they need to hit in order to win. That means you can still win money even if the full parlay loses.
Bettors can pick parlay between three and 10 legs. First, you build your parlay. Then you hit the “flex parlay” button. That will allow you to choose how many legs you need to hit in order to win. The odds for each change dynamically.
For example, let’s take a four-item parlay that would pay +1353 if all four items were to hit. Choosing to have three out of the four legs hit for a win would lower the odds to +173 with a flex parlay. You could also pick an option where only two of your items need to hit for you to win. In this scenario, the odds would go down to -554.
The options for how many items you can pick that will be needed for a win depends on how many selections are in the original parlay. On four- and five-leg parlays, Hard Rock Bet lets bettors flex parlay for either two or three of the legs to hit. For 10-leg parlays, you can choose between six and nine legs to hit. This unique feature is a first in the US sports betting industry and could make Hard Rock a significant player in Illinois right out of the gate.
Hard Rock Bet still needs to clear some hurdles before launching in Illinois
Although Hard Rock is now technically licensed to offer sports betting in Illinois, there are still some roadblocks the operator needs to get past. Some regulatory inspections still need to be passed for Hard Rock to be approved for its management services provider license required for sports wagering. Hard Rock officials hope to launch sports betting within the coming months.
Hard Rock will likely become the eighth or ninth sportsbook to launch in Illinois — depending on when Circa Sportsbook launches. So that means the operator will need to play some catch up in the market. However, the late start does not mean the company can’t make a splash.
Hard Rock Sportsbook launched in Arizona in April 2022. But the first legal bet placed in the Grand Canyon state came in September 2021. Meaning Hard Rock’s app showed up late to the party, and top brands like DraftKings and FanDuel had a head start in Arizona. But Hard Rock has been able to carve out some footing in the market.
According to the April 2023 Arizona sports betting revenue report, Hard Rock’s online sportsbook took in over $5.6 million in wagers. That put the operator seventh in a market with 17 legal online sports wagering sites, many of which were up and running well before Hard Rock was.
It appears that Hard Rock’s launch will come around the same time as Circa, which is tethered to The Temporary casino in Waukegan.
Meanwhile, the IGB also gave approval to Betway to launch an online sports wagering site. That means there will soon be 10 legal sports betting sites in Illinois.