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Music & Casinos: The Story Behind the Hard Rock Cafe

Sign for the Hard Rock Cafe at Piccadilly Circus on 12th July 2022 in London, United Kingdom. Hard Rock Cafe, Inc. is a chain of theme restaurants founded in 1971 by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton in London. In 1979, the cafe began covering its walls with rock and roll memorabilia, a tradition which expanded to others in the chain. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Founded in London by Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett in 1971, Hard Rock Cafe has since become one of the most recognizable companies in the world. While it is best known for its cafes, casinos and hotels, music is the genre that underpins every element of the Hard Rock Cafe brand. 

Music & Memorabilia

Their venues proudly display rock-and-roll memorabilia, some of which have been donated while other items are purchased from auctions across the globe.

Artists such as Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, The Beatles, and Jon Bon Jovi are among the music legends who have memorabilia on display at Hard Rock Cafe venues.

It is estimated that around 86,000 pieces are in Hard Rock’s possession, making it the largest private collection of rock-and-roll memorabilia on the planet.

The London Hard Rock Cafe remains an integral part of the business and is home to the capital city’s only rock-and-roll museum – The Vault.

However, while music and the Hard Rock Cafe brand are forever intertwined, the business has undergone significant changes in recent years.

Further Innovations: Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos and Hard Rock Digital

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 28: A general view of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casin on August 28, 2022 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. With warming waters, dolphins and other mammals have been seen swimming and feeding closer to the shoreline. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In an age where people have so many entertainment options to choose from, Hard Rock Cafe was forced to broaden its horizons to keep pace with the times.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was opened in Las Vegas in 1995 and several other brick-and-mortar casinos have been added to the portfolio over the past couple of decades.

These venues now face stiff competition from online casinos, which can offer a live online casino experience to customers from the comfort of their own homes. Online casino operators, like the ones suggested here, believe that they can replicate or provide an even better service than traditional land-based casinos and the Hard Rock brand has continued to adapt.

With this in mind, the brand continues to innovate in order to remain competitive. For example, in 2020 they launched Hard Rock Digital to expand their focus to online sports betting and iGaming.

The Future Of Hard Rock Café Brand 

BRISTOL, VA – SEPT 19: The future site of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Bristol, Virginia, at the former Bristol Mall on Tuesday, September 19, 2022. Hard Rock is the first to open a casino in the state following recent legislation allowing casinos to operate in the state.
(Photo by Mike Belleme For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Despite growing competition and emerging industries, the Hard Rock Café brand is in the midst of exciting expansion plans that will keep them competitive in the entertainment industry.

The company recently opened a new venture in Illinois named the Rockford Casino – A Hard Rock Opening Act, which has a heavy emphasis on the firm’s musical roots.

Work at the site is still ongoing but will feature a Hard Rock Cafe, live music venue and fully functioning casino when it is completed.

One of Hard Rock’s most exciting additions to their stable was the acquisition of the Mirage casino in Las Vegas for $1.075 billion last year.

The site will be completely renovated, with a new 1,000-room hotel in the shape of a guitar set to be added to the iconic venue.

The sale of the Mirage is the end of an era for a venue that is widely credited with transforming the perception that Las Vegas is purely a gambling destination.

Its iconic volcano fountain was a precursor to several other attractions such as the fountains at the Bellagio and the Venetian’s canals and the Bellagio’s fountains.

The volcano will controversially be demolished during the renovation, despite widespread calls for the feature to be incorporated in the new project.

When completed, Hard Rock Las Vegas will be a fully integrated resort that will deliver top-class gaming and entertainment experiences throughout the year. 

It will bear plenty of similarities to Hard Rock’s 36-storey Guitar Hotel in Florida, which first opened its doors to customers three years ago.

The $1.5bn venue boasts a 7,000-seat casino floor, more than 3,000 slot machines and gaming tables and 1,200 hotel rooms.

The hotel also has a venue for concerts and other major events, something that will be replicated at the new development in Vegas.

Music will play an integral role in helping attract visitors to the revamped venue, as has been the case with the hotel in Florida.

Some of the world’s top acts are scheduled to perform there over the coming weeks including Metallica, Adam Sandler, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, and Billy Joel.

Popular comedian Dave Chappelle is also performing three shows in Florida over the festive period, further highlighting the quality of the acts Hard Rock is able to attract.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos – The Final Word

With Hard Rock currently on a mission to expand its portfolio of properties across the world, the company is clearly well-placed to flourish over the coming years.

The brand also continues to explore new avenues, with offerings like weddings, all-inclusive resort packages, and catering for private events also available. 

It is fair to say that Morton and Tigrett could probably never have dreamed how far things would progress when they first opened their London venue 51 years ago.

As music-themed success stories go, this one is hard to beat.

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