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Hard Rock eyes 'next level' success with $1.5B resort hotel

Alexandra Canal

The Hard Rock Hotel is expanding.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida is working on a new $1.5 billion project — building the world’s first and only guitar-shaped hotel with expected completion by fall 2019.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance this week, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen described the new resort as a “next level” destination.

The new venue — which includes attractions like a $125 million ‘Hotel Rock Live’ Theater, a 13.5-acre waterscape with a pool and cabanas, and a 140,000 square feet gaming space is in keeping with what Allen called Hard Rock’s “rock n’ roll” reputation.

New guitar-shaped Hard Rock Casino Resort (Courtesy: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood)

Buoyed by Atlantic City’s boom

The Florida expansion also converges with Hard Rock’s push to rapidly expand its hotel division.

It was only a year ago that the chain debuted in Atlantic City, taking part in a boom that’s seen the city’s casino revenue by double digits every month since its opening.

“We’re very happy with the [Atlantic City] market—it’s growing,” Allen told Yahoo Finance. “But clearly the town needs to focus on infrastructure and continuing to upgrade the image of Atlantic City.”

If that continues,“Atlantic City’s days are good,” Allen added.

In recent years, the gambling-reliant economy has seen a resurgence since the dark days following the Great Recession. At that time, Atlantic City’s bond rating was slashed to junk, and it nearly defaulted on its debt.

Regardless of what happens to the city, Hard Rock “will be okay, because frankly there is no debt on the property,” Allen explained. “ Borgata will be okay, maybe one or two of the Caesars ( CZR ) properties but then after that I think it starts to get a little more questionable.”

With sports betting legal in states like New Jersey, Rhode Island and most recently Iowa , attracting the millennial gambler is one game most casinos are learning to play.

But Allen isn’t switching up his business strategy too much, telling Yahoo Finance “the margins are very slim.”

“The real opportunity of it is online sports betting through the mobile device,” Allen said, adding that the historical margins in New Jersey or Las Vegas are less than 10%.

Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter : @alliecanal8193

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