Editor’s note: Borgata AC will reopen on July 26 after four-plus months of being closed. This story was written prior to the reopening announcement.
Borgata is Atlantic City’s top-performing property.
In 2020, however, the MGM-owned hotel and casino is facing its biggest challenge to date.
Recovering from what will end up being at least a two-plus month shutdown takes serious planning. And this is new territory for Atlantic City casinos.
MGM Resorts International took a big step this week by sharing details of its “Seven-Point Safety Plan.”
The full report provides details of the multilayered set of protocols and procedures designed in conjunction with medical and scientific experts. The primary goals are:
- Deter the spread of the coronavirus.
- Protect customers and employees.
- Rapidly respond to potential new cases.
The plan applies to MGM’s domestic properties.
Borgata and its 7-point plan
Before the Marina District property doors are unlocked, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will need to give the all-clear.
The exact date is unknown at this point.
While waiting for the return date to be announced, Borgata will be taking preliminary steps to prepare for guests and employees.
Here is a closer look at the plan:
- Screening, temperature checks and employee training.
- Mandatory masks and personal protection equipment (PPE).
- Six-foot physical distancing policy will be in place, wherever feasible.
- Hand-washing and enhanced sanitization.
- Heating ventilation and air conditioning controls and air quality.
- Incident response protocols.
- Digital innovations.
Guests planning to make a summer visit to Borgata will be asked to abide by a self-screening protocol.
This means if a person has been exposed to the coronavirus, the guest is strongly urged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for self-quarantine and not travel.
All MGM Resorts employees will be required to wear an approved mask while on the property.
Customers will be strongly encouraged to wear them in public areas. The Borgata will supply them free of charge if needed.
In terms of digital innovation, the Borgata is reimagining the guest experience through technology. This includes contactless options for guests, eliminating or reducing the need for waiting in line.
Sorry, no green light yet
With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, there is a chance the beach will open before the casinos.
The only fact at this point is Borgata is accepting reservations as of June 1. But like with May, there is no guarantee.
As expected, the lack of Atlantic City casino revenue is a crushing blow to the Garden State’s bottom line.
The post-pandemic recovery process is almost guaranteed to extend into 2021. For now, the road to recovery is the focus.
Like Caesars Entertainment did earlier this week, establishing health and safety guidelines provides a head start.
Bill Hornbuckle, the acting CEO and president of MGM Resorts, said the company is putting health and safety at the “center of everything we do.”
“Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only OK, it’s critically important,” said Hornbuckle.
“We will continue providing the hospitality experiences we are known for, but we must do so safely. We will continue working with experts and following guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government officials and regulators as we evolve these protocols based on the latest information.”
Borgata dining and entertainment
If and when Borgata opens in time for the prime summer season, what amenities will be available?
The property includes upscale restaurant concepts from Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Michael Symon. But as far as the seven-point plan goes, there is a brief mention of dining protocols.
Digital menus will be available to view on personal mobile devices via QR code. Virtual queues will be in place for guests when immediate seating is unavailable. Guests will receive a text message notification when their table is ready.
It doesn’t address which places will be open or the seating capacity.
Borgata also has a stacked summer entertainment lineup scheduled for the Event Center and Music Box. Being that the concert industry is currently operating in a virtual-only mode, an update is likely coming soon.
The events calendar is still showing Ken Jeong (July 11) and Jerry Seinfeld (Aug. 8). The latter is rescheduled from April.
Borgata online casino still open
There is little doubt Atlantic City customers are missing casino gambling.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released April numbers late Wednesday afternoon.
Clearly, the MGM online casino and Borgata online casino products (and other brands operating under the license) are building a following.
The license holder reported $15.8 million in online casino revenue, good enough for an eye-opening 190.5% year-over-year increase.
The number is good enough for third behind Golden Nugget ($27.6 million) and Resorts Digital ($16. million).
And, not surprisingly, the market as a whole earned an all-time high of a tad under $80 million.
It shatters the previous record of $64.8 million set in March.
But to reach its full potential, Borgata needs the land-based casino to be operating simultaneously with the clicks.
As strong as the online numbers were, the lack of the $53.3 million earned on the gambling floor shows the reality of the shutdown.
With June being a little more than two weeks away, maybe there is uplifting news on the horizon.