The Borgata Looks To Be First In New Jersey Online Gaming Market
Although it might look as though there will be a long time span before it actually goes live, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City is already looking to be one of the first casinos in New Jersey to open up shop once the online gaming market kicks into effect.
According to writer Donald Wittkowski of PressofAtlanticCity.com, the Borgata will make their move into online gaming once New Jersey gaming officials finalize the regulations. “We intend to be among the first to offer online gambling in the state of New Jersey and are confident the Borgata brand will allow us to capture a substantial share of this lucrative market,” the president and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming (the ownership behind the Borgata), Keith Smith, told analysts during a conference call reporting on Boyd Gaming’s first-quarter earnings.
Full-fledged online casino gaming, including poker, blackjack, roulette, other table games and online slots, is expected to begin by November 26, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission has stated. Going beyond what the regulations will hold in the state of Nevada (which has opened up for online poker only), it is expected that revenues from internet gaming would be a boon to the struggling Atlantic City casino scene. Estimates have ranged between $200 million and $1.2 billion per year, but Smith expects that number to be about the midpoint ($700 million) once it goes live.
While optimistic about what impact online gaming will have on Boyd Gaming and the Borgata, Smith doesn’t seem to be concerned with potentially losing players from the Borgata property itself. According to Wittkowski, Smith believes that online gaming, and in particular online poker, could serve as a driving device to bring more players to Atlantic City and the Borgata. “We think online gaming is going to be a great addition to our land-based platform,” Smith stated to Wittkowski.
The market for online gaming in New Jersey promises to be a competitive one. Along with the Borgata’s announced intentions to be at the forefront when it opens, there are several other companies that would look to enter into the market and tap into the 8 million residents of New Jersey. Earlier this week, Caesars Entertainment entered their bid for a license for online gaming in New Jersey and, with ownership of four of the twelve casinos that are in Atlantic City, it is expected that they will not face any resistance in their efforts to obtain a license.
Caesars Entertainment, the owners of the World Series of Poker, has been in the online game for quite some time internationally. Through their partnership with 888 Holdings, Caesars has a branded WSOP poker room, WSOP.com, and could be expected to bring an excellent product to the New Jersey online gaming scene. There is one “elephant in the room,” so to speak, that many aren’t currently talking about.
PokerStars is slowly moving along with its proposed purchase of The Atlantic Club, a failing casino outlet on the Boardwalk. In December 2012, it was first disclosed that PokerStars would purchase the casino and, a couple of months later, PokerStars put in an application for a temporary license to run the outfit. With that application came a bit of pushback against their takeover of the company.
The American Gaming Association filed a complaint with the NJCCC, stating that PokerStars had violated U. S. laws in allowing for Americans to play poker on the site after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. Although PokerStars has settled their “Black Friday” lawsuit from 2011 with the U. S. government that was, in part, brought about by their continued allowance of American action on the site, the AGA contends that issuing a license to PokerStars would indicate a weakening of the strict gaming laws in New Jersey. The licensing procedure for PokerStars is currently on hold as the NJCCC further reviews the case.
The future for internet gaming in New Jersey is promising, even without a multi-state compact to team up with other states for larger games. By going the route of full online casinos, rather than just online poker, the state is setting up for what should be a lucrative industry. It remains to be seen who the major players will be on the New Jersey online gaming scene, however.
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