Some good and bad news recently occurred concerning the Atlantic City and New Jersey online gambling scene. As you probably know, the Internet gambling experience in the Garden State is being funneled through the 12 physical Atlantic City casino hotels already running. The last few years have shown financial declines for all of those properties across the board, as nearby states like Pennsylvania and Delaware have aggressively added to their brick-and-mortar gambling offerings. The upcoming launch of Internet gambling in New Jersey is hoped to provide a significant boost to casino revenues.
And at least one casino property, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, recently announced that its revenues were up 7% in the third quarter this year, as they solidify themselves as the top casino property in Atlantic City, and New Jersey. Keith Smith is the president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, which co-owns the Borgata with MGM Resorts International. And he said that the Borgata, which now owns a full 21% of the Atlantic City physical casino market share, hopes to also lead the online gambling industry in New Jersey when it is launched later this month.
A soft rollout will begin on November 21 for real money gambling casino games and Atlantic City online poker, and if all goes well, a full-fledged rollout will be offered statewide on November 26. The Borgata received the state’s very first interactive gaming permit earlier this year, and will probably be one of the few online casinos involved in the soft launch for real money gambling. New Jersey is home to 9 million residents, quite a bit more than the 1 million Americans who live in nearby Delaware. However, bad news came this past week as Delaware launched a full slate of casino and poker games on October 31, pulling a trick with on treat on NJ.
New Jersey has already passed legislation which would allow them to partner up with states like Delaware and Nevada, who have already legalized some form of online gambling. Delaware will have nearly a month under its belt delivering blackjack, roulette, slots and poker for real money gambling by the time New Jersey launches its online offerings. The states already compete in the brick-and-mortar casino industry, and could both benefit by some type of Internet gambling compact. Smith also stated that the Borgata is currently testing age verification and geolocation technologies which have already been put in place, ensuring their proper functioning before the online gambling launches.
A player must be at least 21 years of age to participate in the upcoming real money online gambling offering, and must sign up at either of the brick-and-mortar or virtual Atlantic City casino properties. New Jersey’s legislation, like Delaware’s and Nevada’s, only provides legal online gambling to anyone located inside state boundaries, including residents and visitors. This was one of the stipulations made by the Department of Justice when it relaxed its opinion on Internet gambling in late 2011, passing the legislating and regulating responsibilities to the state level. With more than 1/5 of the physical casino revenue generated by 12 properties, the Borgata has considerable brand recognition in New Jersey. Smith hopes that this translates to a leadership role when the Internet gambling industry kicks off in the Garden State later this month.