Thursday January 2,2014 : BORGATA EXEC TALKS INTERNET GAMBLING IN NEW JERSEY
Growth has exceeded expectations, and online operations do not pose a threat to the brisks and mortar activity.
In an interview with the "Squawk Box" program on CNBC this week Tom Ballance – chief operating officer and president of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa and its new online gambling operations in New Jersey – said that growth has exceeded expectations….and the new form of gambling does not pose a competitive threat to the company's bricks and mortar enterprise.
Users of gaming sites operated by the Borgata in Atlantic City, have created more than 20,000 accounts to bet real money online in New Jersey, since the state's approval of Internet gambling in late November, Ballance told CNBC on Thursday.
"Borgata was uniquely positioned to be at the forefront, primarily because of efforts by our managing partner, Boyd Gaming Corporation," Ballance said.
"Boyd's strategy is to engage in online gaming nationwide. We weren't out hunting for a service provider, when others were. We were all set up and ready to go."
Discussing fears in some quarters that online gambling could cannibalise the land market, Ballance observed:
"When we match up databases, the great majority of players who were playing online have not been to Borgata in well over a year. And the vast majority has made fewer than two trips in the past year. So it's a different customer."
There's also a different demographic for the online gambler, he said. "It skews more male than the conventional brick-and-mortar customer."
Answering critics who say Internet gaming makes it too easy to bet since gamblers don't have to leave their homes, Ballance said: "Online we actually have more controls. … You don't extend credit online. You've got to fund your account somehow … through your checking account or through a credit card."
Atlantic City land operators are under pressure from Gov. Chris Christie to pull the exclusive gambling enclave within the state out of its persistent business doldrums, occasioned by competition in neighbouring states and the lack of sports betting.
This is the fourth year of a five-year grace period that the governor has given the city before he considers expanding land casino licensing to other parts of New Jersey, such as the Meadowlands Sports Complex in the northern part of the state.