Borgata Continues Its Casino Hot Streak With Another Profitable Quarter

Borgata’s NJ Online Gambling Operations Book A Win For Fourth Straight Quarter

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The online gambling arm of the Borgata carved out a path to profitability in Q2 2015, capping a full year in which the market share leader in New Jersey has operated in the black.

Boyd Gaming President and CEO Kevin Smith delivered the good news during the company’s most recent earnings call.

“EBITDA at the Borgata grew by about 45 percent year-over-year including 1.6 million in EBITDA from our online operation,” said Smith.

In Q2 2014, the operator, which provides an online poker and casino product in conjunction with, broke even.

Borgata’s profit margins on the upswing

Last quarter, Borgata online gambling recorded profits of $1.1 million and gross gaming revenue of $11.7 million.

Operator revenue was down slightly from April to June ($11.5 million), with the bulk of the losses tied to negative seasonal trends for online poker.

Yet that didn’t prevent the Borgata from posting profit margins that were 45 percent higher compared to last quarter.

This bridging of the gap between profits and total gaming win clearly suggests that the Borgata has become less reliant on marketing and promotional spend, and more on its regular patrons gravitating to the site unassisted.

Prospects for Q3 looking strong

In the absence of any major shakeups to New Jersey’s iGaming landscape, expect the Borgata to remain profitable in Q3 2015.

  • The Borgata’s NJ online casino boasted strong year-over-year growth in Q2 2015, posting gains of just under 5 percent. Similar growth in Q3 would equate to gross gaming revenues of just over $7 million.
  • The online poker industry typically emerges from its months-long slumber starting in July, with liquidity trending upward throughout the late summer and fall months. Last year, Borgata’s iPoker revenue climbed 9 percent from June to September.
  • Borgata turned a profit in Q3 2014, ahead of company expectations that had the operation breaking even in H2 2014.

The lone foreseeable wildcard is PokerStars, which is expected to make an appearance in New Jersey sometime this quarter. Yet with each passing day, the likelihood of the industry giant having a strong impact on Borgata’s third quarter earnings diminishes.

And even if Stars were to launch sooner rather than later, it’s unlikely to impinge on the Borgata’s casino profits, as New Jersey gamblers have already expressed a clear willingness to spread their wagers across multiple sites.

The impact on the poker side will be more noticeable, yet will hardly spell ruin for the Borgata, as online poker revenue only accounts for 27 percent of the operator’s total iGaming win.

Of course it’s also possible that PokerStars’ entry may help to expand the market, at least at launch, when the operator spends untold sums on raising brand – and by extension New Jersey online poker – awareness.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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