Pandemic Accelerates Online Gaming Growth For Borgata, BetMGM

Posted By David Danzis on February 8, 2021

Having already achieved domination over Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is eyeing a new conquest: NJ online gambling.

The industry leader and its internet partners reported a 168% year-over-year increase from NJ online casino revenue in 2020.

Plus, the $208.2 million online win accounted for 36% of Borgata’s total gaming revenue last year, according to data released by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Chalk it up as the casino’s best year ever in terms of online gaming revenue. In 2019, Borgata and its partners reported $77.8 million.

New Jersey nearly posted $1 billion in annual revenue from online gaming in 2020, an industry wide year-over-year increase of 101%.

Borgata closure moves players online

Of course, this was due in no small part to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brick and mortar casinos being closed for 100-plus days.

So people being confined to their homes was fuel to the raging fire that is New Jersey’s online gaming market.

Borgata President and COO Melonie Johnson recently acknowledged just how much online gaming meant to casino operators last year.

“It’s proven to be very profitable for us,” Johnson said during an interview with Yahoo! Finance. “The option for a brick and mortar casino was taken away mid-March due to COVID-19. And our customers did have the option and the luxury of going online in the comfort of their own homes and playing.”

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BetMGM at the heart of Borgata’s online gambling growth

Several online sites operate under the umbrella of Borgata’s casino gaming license in New Jersey. Here are some of the brands:

But the most recognizable brand to most consumers is BetMGM.

MGM Resorts International owns Borgata.

It is the understanding of PlayNJ that a bulk of the casino’s reported online gaming revenue is from BetMGM, the Borgata-branded sites and PartyPoker, all of which are controlled by the same entity.

Matthew Sunderland, vice president of gaming for BetMGM(and includes BetMGM online casino), told PlayNJ that the company’s online gaming growth was by design. Although COVID certainly accelerated some aspects, Sunderland said BetMGM has positioned itself over time to make the strides seen in 2020.

“This is the culmination of…quite a long period of hard work,” he said, adding that factors related to COVID clearly moved the needle. “Everyone seems to be benefiting from an increase in revenue, especially when there was very little live sports and casinos were closed, requiring a natural migration online.”

And the timing of that “natural migration online” is extremely noticeable when looking at the last several months of online revenue increases:

  • August: $19.7 million (up 177.2%)
  • September: $20.3 million (up 191.4%)
  • October: $22 million (up 184.6%)
  • November: $23.4 million (up 185%)
  • December: $27.1 million (up 194.2%)

 

One hand washes the other

Borgata and BetMGM share a mutual goal of cultivating brand loyalty that, ultimately, retains customers.

The benefit to the brick and mortar property is increased exposure to new players. The online component, meanwhile, maintains consumer interest when a trip to the casino is not possible.

All of that contributes to an increase in the company’s bottom line.

But, Johnson, along with other retail casino executives, is hopeful that a return to normalcy is on the horizon.

“Right now, we’re hopeful, very hopeful, that once we can get individuals vaccinated and we get to a point when 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 property and within the community,” she said.

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David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.

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