Borgata Strikes it Rich in July

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The Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Saul Loeb/ AFP

The Borgata and its eight competitors along Atlantic City’s Boardwalk are enjoying a renaissance as evidenced by a historic month of July, according to the latest reports.

The Borgata, operated by MGM Resorts International, had a record-breaking month with north of $124 million in winnings generated from in-person casino gamblers, online gaming, and sports betting. The previous record was also set by the Borgata in September of 2021 when Atlantic City’s leading gambling palace hauled in almost $112 million. 

Borgata Leads the Way 

Travis Lunn, the Borgata’s president, believes the record-setting month in summer is due to “incredibly strong numbers across the board including a record slots performance.” 

“When you look at the health of Atlantic City as a whole, it shows people are visiting and enjoy the activities they love,” he said. “I believe it is a sign and recognition of the reinvestment our industry is placing into Atlantic City.” 

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute at Stockton University, a think tank that studies the Atlantic City gaming industry, said,

“That Borgata delivered this performance in a month in which the property’s brick and mortar gaming revenues did not surpass 2019 levels, underlines the importance of the new internet gaming and sports betting products in the property’s overall revenue stream. “The diversification of the gambling product in recent years has also contributed to the property’s ability to remain competitive in the local and regional market.” 

Splitting the Pie 

Atlantic City’s revival is due primarily to the convenience of being able to play a digital slot or place a sports bet online. Each casino has an online presence and bettors don’t even have to leave the comfort of their living rooms to get into the action which has bolstered gaming revenues in Atlantic City exponentially.  

And while there is no denying that digital gaming and the legalization of online sports betting have been a welcome oasis for a city that had been economically depressed not long ago, it should be noted that the casinos must split the online gambling and sports betting revenues with their platform providers, unlike the in-person casino winnings that go directly to the house, minus taxes levied by the municipalities.  

Therefore, the focus for the casinos is to increase their retail casino attractions which include slots, video poker, and table games. This is where these properties live and breathe and can also generate ancillary revenue from bettors buying food, drinks, and merchandise within the resort.  

Still Work to Do

As stunning as the numbers in July were, the July 2022 in-person casino metrics were down from pre-pandemic July 2019 for the Borgata and four other Atlantic City casinos. However, if we analyze all nine casinos combined, we see retail casino revenue increased from $277 million in July of 2019 to over $299 million last month.  

And as the Boardwalk increases its tourism and foot traffic, the casino numbers will climb and so too will the all-important gross gaming revenue (GGR). The reinvestment into the properties and the elevation of the quality of life along the Boardwalk have made the venue far more appealing. The numbers are up in Atlantic City and they are expected to continue their ascent. 

Perhaps that’s why, despite the great numbers, the Borgata is moving forward with a facelift.