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MGM bring strong branding and a wealth of experience to the table, rendering it one of the few non-local brands that could have a substantial impact on NJ industry revenue.
That’s much needed good news for the Borgata, which has witnessed its online casino and poker revenue sputter of late.
The Borgata AC may have posted the highest online gambling revenue of any licensed operator in 2016. But relative to the industry, it’s on a downward trajectory.
Last year, the operator registered gross online gaming revenue of $45.82 million. That represented a scant 3 percent uptick over 2015.
Borgata’s online poker operation bore the brunt of the blow, with revenue falling 29.8 percent in 2016.
Borgata casino revenue did rise 16.1 percent, but that growth margin was smaller than for any other operator, sans the Tropicana. Both Golden Nugget and Caesars saw their online casino revenue soar by upwards of 35 percent in 2016.
Also worth noting, is that Borgata’s industry-leading revenue in 2016 is a bit deceiving, as the second place operator (Golden Nugget) offers online casino only, while Borgata offers both online casino and online poker.
Looking at online casino alone, Golden Nugget outperformed the Borgata by over $4.4 million in 2016. This serves in strong contrast to 2015, when Golden Nugget trailed the Borgata online casino revenue by $1.5 million.
And over the second half of 2016, Golden Nugget outpaced the totality of Borgata’s online gambling operation, bringing in $23.5 million versus the Borgata’s $22.3 million. This statistic should have raised some eyebrows over at Borgata HQ.
As Borgata proved in 2014, when it held a comfortable lead over the competition, strong branding alone can vault an online gambling property toward the top of the charts.
MGM may not be as recognizable to locals as the Borgata, but it is a globally recognized casino operator, with over 20 properties in the US and abroad.
One of those properties, the newly-minted MGM National Harbor in Maryland, is within striking distance of New Jersey.
Moreover, should MGM replace Borgata’s existing loyalty program with its M Life Rewards scheme, its brand recognition will receive another notable uptick in the Garden State.
Conceivably, online patrons could earn M Life points online, for redemption at the Borgata’s brick and mortar venue — much like how Total Rewards points can be earned online at Caesars’ online casino.
Cross promotional opportunities of this magnitude don’t sprout up too often, and the revenue lift for MGM’s online casino arm could be significant.
That being said, non-local brands have had a hard time finding their place in New Jersey’s online casino market.
According to estimates by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming in its US iGaming Industry Update, only one brand not named after an Atlantic City casino — Betfair Casino — has captured more than a 20 percent share of its respective licences revenue.
The consensus is that Borgata online gambling partner GVC Holdings will provide the casino platform for MGM in New Jersey.
That could go one of two different ways:
Realistically, MGM wouldn’t have to do much to place the Borgata back on track.
If it grows operator revenue by 30 percent Borgata will shoot right back to the top of the revenue charts. Considering all the advantages MGM enjoys, that’s certainly a reasonable goal – especially if GVC plays along and M life integration is present at launch.