During a conference call with investors, the hotel’s chief executive officer, Keith Smith, said Borgata will quickly introduce online betting once New Jersey officials finish 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,” said Smith, as reported by the press of Atlantic City.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation in February 27 legalising online gambling in an attempt to help the state’s struggling casino industry and generate casino tax revenues. At the moment it’s the most populous state in the US to give the green light to online gambling and follows similar moves from Delaware and Nevada.
Other states, such as Pennsylvania, are pencilling similar laws.
The push to legalise online gambling isn’t only happening at state level, either. Reuters reported in March that the federal government is also considering similar legislation.
“I think the states’ passage gives some incentive to the federal government to act,” said Representative Joe Barton last month. Barton introduced an online poker bill in 2011 that failed but he plans to introduce a new bill this spring.
“Whether you’re for or against Internet gambling,” said Barton, “you don’t want 50 sets of state laws. You want uniformity.”
Borgata’s Smith would not give any estimates as to how much he believed the hotel and casino would benefit from the new laws, although he agreed that New Jersey, as a whole, would generate internet gambling revenue from $200 million to $1.2 billion each year, as has been predicted by gambling analysts and industry experts.
Addressing fears that online casino games and online poker would have a detrimental effect on the existing casinos in Atlantic City, Smith said that there was little chance that internet gambling would “cannabilise” business for the casino. In fact, he believes that the casino’s ability to offer these services would increase the number of visitors.
Smith added, “We think it’s going to be a great addition to our land-based platform.”
Like many casinos in the area, Borgata has been struggling in recent years with declining vistors, competition from neighbouring states and a string of bad weather events such as hurricane sandy.
The hotel and casino’s parent company, Boyd Gaming, isn’t fairing much better. According to the Wall Street Journal, Boyd, one of Las Vegas’s oldest gambling companies, reported a first quarter loss this quarter of $7.2 million. However, despite the loss, overall revenues were up 16% from the previous quarter leading to a massive 24% jump in the firm’s share price.