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MAJOR ATLANTIC CITY CASINO READY TO JUMP INTO ONLINE GAMBLING
Executives from the Borgata land casino in Atlantic City and its parent group, Boyd Gaming, told reporters Wednesday that they are keen to enter the legalised online gambling market in New Jersey once regulations have been finalised and preparations are completed.
The publication Press of Atlantic City reports that the executives believe the new business opportunities will complement Borgatas land-based games and draw new visitors to Atlantic City.
Keith Smith, president and chief executive officer of Boyd Gaming, said Borgata will quickly introduce online wagering 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, Smith said during a conference call on Boyds first-quarter earnings.
Although he declined to give specific figures, Smith said that analysts and state officials have widely estimated Internet revenue from $200 million to $1.2 billion annually (see previous InfoPowa reports). He did, however, opine that the actual figure may fall somewhere near the middle.
New Jersey regulatory officials have said that the new regulations could be ready for implementation as early as November this year. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement is currently in the process of crafting the regulations.
Smith told reporters that his company does not believe Internet gambling will cannibalise business from Borgatas brick-and-mortar operations. In some cases, particularly with poker players, it could actually drive more visitors to Atlantic City, he observed.
We think its going to be a great addition to our land-based platform, Smith said.
Borgata land gambling profits were down in the first quarter compared to last year. Net revenues fell 6 percent to $165.6 million, while gross operating profits plunged 27 percent to $28.4 million compared to the same quarter in 2012, Boyd reported Wednesday.
The Borgata operation is the most successful in the embattled land gambling market in Atlantic City, and there are hopes that the introduction of online gambling will help revitalise the industry.
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