Despite running at 25% occupancy, thanks to Borgata Online, BetMGM, and Party Poker, year-over-year to date, Borgata Atlantic City has seen a 174% increase in the gross gaming revenues for those gambling apps.
While the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the state of New Jersey have severely limited the typical revenue generated by the resort, online gaming has been a saving grace not only for the Borgata, but the other Atlantic City properties as well.
But while the Atlantic City casinos have lost foot traffic, they’re seeing those customers move to online offerings. For the Borgata, 2020 proved to be the best year ever for its online gambling apps.
Borgata Online Gaming Booming While the Resort Languishes
The coronavirus restrictions have devastated the leisure and hospitality industry across the country, eliminating four million jobs last year. After reopening in July, Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel and Casino are piecing back together a pleasant resort experience for its visitors.
Everything in Atlantic City is a challenge under the restrictions, but is using a seven-point health and safety protocol that’s used throughout MGM Resorts International.
The table games have polycarbonate barriers, and the number of gaming positions is limited to ensure the safety of both guests and employees.
On October 21, 2020, Borgata reopened its live poker room, with 30 live tables, each with seven positions separated with polycarbonate barriers. There is also the option to open up to 50 poker tables, if there is a demand. Also, the chips are sanitized on all table games, and chips are removed from tables. In fact, Borgata has employed dedicated workers who do nothing but sanitize chips.
In between guests, the hotel rooms have a “cooling off period” for at least 24 hours before employees are allowed to go in. And employees must wear masks at all times.
Fortunately, the state-imposed restrictions now allow indoor dining within the Borgata, but at only 25% occupancy, with 6 feet of social distancing. Of course, that limits the number of diners, but still, it’s been modestly profitable and good for the workers and guests.
International Travel to Atlantic City has Dried Up
International travel to Atlantic City has dried up not because of the price of airfare, but because of the restrictions. For example, anyone entering the state of New Jersey must self-quarantine for 14 days. Likewise, when those visitors arrive back in their home countries, they may also have to self-quarantine. That makes international, and even interstate, travel unfeasible.
Fortunately, Atlantic City is located near two of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, New York and Philadelphia. That makes it easy for people to drive to the Atlantic City casinos, avoiding the airport and the 14-day self-quarantine.
When Will Atlantic City Return to the Old Normal?
Most people are eager to return to the “old normal”, but most experts are skeptical that that will happen anytime soon. Rather than easing COVID-19 restrictions, health officials seem to create new ones every week.
“Oh, God. I wish I had the crystal ball to give you an exact answer on that,” said Melonie Johnson, President of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, when asked when the Borgata would return to normal. “But right now, we’re hopeful that once we can get people vaccinated and we get to a point where we have herd immunity, hopefully sometime towards the latter part of this year, we can see things move to more of a normal experience at the Borgata and within the community.”
In the meantime, while hotel stays, dining, entertainment, and gambling on the casino floor are not what they used to be, online and mobile gambling apps are keeping the Atlantic City casinos afloat.