Over (& Under) the Weather: Hard Rock Taking Bets on Temps
With big-league sports shut down, Hard Rock Atlantic City has a nutty new promotion—betting on daily temperatures—to help you weather the viral storm.
Before the coronavirus shutdown began a couple weeks back, Atlantic City was jumping, in no small part thanks to onsite and online sportsbooks.
We were heading into one of the hottest seasons of the year for sports: March Madness, the Stanley Cup playoffs, NBA playoffs, the start of the Major League Baseball.
Well, you know what happened next. With major sports around the world idled by the pandemic, New Jersey’s sportsbooks have been challenged to keep their betting customers playing. Hard Rock Atlantic City has a simple way to do just that: a promotion offering free over/under bets daily… on the weather.
The promotion, called “Hard Rock Heat Streak,” is simple. Every day, HardRockCasino.com publishes a list of selected U.S. cities, with the forecasted high temperature for the following day for each city. Players have until 11:59 p.m. to submit an over/under number for the following day’s high for each city.
On 11:59 p.m. the next day, with each city’s actual high temperature settled, payoffs are made, all linked to play on HardRockCasino.com. People nailing the exact temperature in their over/under pick will lose. Payoffs begin for those hitting the over/under three days in a row, and go up from there the longer the “Heat Streak” lasts.
The payoffs for the free play are designed to increase engagement with the HardRockCasino.com iGaming site:
- 3 correct picks in a row = 20 Free Spins on slot game Jumanji (spins worth 50 cents each)
- 5 correct picks in a row = 30 Free Spins on slot game Jumanji (spins worth $0.50 each)
- 10 correct picks in a row = 50 Free Spins on slot game Jumanji (spins worth $0.50 each)
- 15 correct picks in a row = $50 in Slots Free Play
- 20 correct picks in a row = $100 in Table Games Free Play
- 25-plus correct picks in a row = 15% cash back on net losses for all casino play for each day you maintain the streak of correct picks (max $500 in cash back daily)
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Matt Para, vice president of online gaming operations for Hard Rock International, led the charge on the idea, along with Hard Rock’s Sports Promotions Team.
“He came up with Heat Streak in an effort to create a fun and engaging promotion for our players and cultivate a contest around a specific streak, which ultimately awards players with casino prizes for participation,” said Lee Terfloth, vice president of online gaming product for Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City, in an interview with iGamingPlayer.
Para said the idea was to keep things simple for the customer: There are no odds formulas or other aspects of creating lines for sports wagering.
“The player simply selects the over or under of the forecasted max temperature for the calendar day,” Para told iGP, “and builds a streak of correct picks in order to unlock different prizes depending on the length of their streak.”
More Contests to Come
Para added that the free promotion fits in with the iGaming site’s marketing activities throughout the year. “We’ll continue to run contests throughout the year,” he said, “with our next contest focused on the NFL Draft. We’ve been running sports-centric contests since we opened in 2018, especially given they are easy to understand and participate in, yet ultimately drive acquisition and adhesiveness for us by encouraging repeat visits to the website to participate.”
Online casinos, of course, have been the one sector of the industry generating revenues during the nationwide coronavirus shutdown. While unable to detail specific performance numbers at this point, Terfloth said the site is generating healthy revenues right now by emphasizing the same player engagement that’s led to a lot of crossover between online and brick-and-mortar play for the past two years.
“Hard Rock Online has always seen excellent traction in converting customers that play with us on the land-based side to the online product,” Terfloth said.
“Our omni-channel integration into Wild Card Rewards is something that we have been focusing on since the first day of operation. Customers can earn both Comp Dollars and Tier Points online, and most recently we have been offering 2X Comp Dollars and Tier Points, so when Hard Rock Atlantic City opens our doors, they have the ability to stop in and have an excellent time cashing in rewards for their play at home.”
What Are ‘Live Slots’?
Hard Rock Atlantic City also offers online play unlike any of the other sites, with its “Live Slots” feature. Launched in February, Live Slots are a row of 12 physical slot machines set up in a room at the Hard Rock Atlantic City property with a rig of cameras and microphones in front to record every play.
Partnering with the software firm Softweave Ltd., Hard Rock has set up those physical slots to be operated remotely on a smartphone, tablet or PC. From their couch or armchair, players can touch a spin button on their mobile device to operate the physical slot machines.
“Live Slots, a first-of-its-kind slot experience unlike anything else in the world, continues to run irrespective (of the shutdown),” Terfloth said. “Using innovative technology, players can play real physical slot machines located in a private room at Hard Rock Atlantic City from the comfort of their home. Players can pick from a selection of some of the most popular titles including Leprecoins, Buffalo, Spitfire Multipliers, Hotter than Blazes, and 3x4x4x Double Times Pay, then bet and control the machine remotely.
“Since launching Live Slots in February, we have definitely seen interest climb. It’s possible that some of the extra interest is fueled by the fact that casinos are currently closed and HardRockCasino.com is as real as it gets for slots players, but before any closures, we definitely saw interest trend upwards.”
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