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Borgata COO: New Jersey iGaming Exceeding Expectations

Borgata COO: New Jersey iGaming Exceeding Expectations

The Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa is one of the clear winners in the early days of online gaming in New Jersey, and the casino’s president and COO says the numbers are exceeding expectations.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Tom Ballance said Borgata has seen more than 20,000 online accounts opened by gamblers—the state’s casinos as a whole have seen nearly 150,000 accounts opened—and most of those customers rarely gamble in person at the Borgata’s brick-and-mortar casino.

“Borgata was uniquely positioned to be at the forefront, primarily because of efforts by our managing partner, Boyd Gaming Corporation,” Ballance told Squawk Box. “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.”

More importantly, online gaming seems to be bringing in new customers to the Borgata brand.

“When we match up databases, the great majority of players who were playing online have not been to Borgata in well over a year,” he said. “And the vast majority have made fewer than two trips in the past year. So it’s a different customer. It also skews more male than the conventional brick-and-mortar customer.”

When online gaming in New Jersey was first proposed, many questioned if the move would siphon off gamblers that usually play in person at brick-and-mortar casinos. The state will release its first report on online gaming revenue later this month.

Ballance also answered critics who say online gaming will lead to more problem gambling.

“Online we actually have more controls,” he said. “You don’t extend credit online. You’ve got to fund your account somehow—through your checking account or through a credit card.”

Meanwhile, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and its online gaming partner bwin.party entertainment, owners of PartyPoker, are off to a fast start in the New Jersey online gambling market, and they’re not letting any grass grow under their feet.

The two companies announced last month that new apps for both company’s gambling platforms—PartyPoker.com, BorgataPoker.com and BorgataCasino.com—have been developed for iPhones and are available for free.

A gambling app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, supported by iOS 4.3 or later, is now available at PartyPoker.com and is free to download and install. The same apps are available at BorgataPoker.com and Borgatacasino.com.

The tool allows players to engage in poker and casino games while moving from room to room or as they roam around within the Wi-Fi-enabled areas of New Jersey, the companies said in separate press releases.

The poker apps include a “Quick Seat” feature that allows players to find a seat when choosing from hundreds of real-money Texas Hold ‘em tables accessible at the sites. It also has the “Fast Forward” feature, designed for players who prefer to compete with a pool of players for fast and intense poker action, as opposed to seating in fixed cash games.

With BorgataCasino.com, players have access to their favorite slot games and jackpot promotions, including Borgata’s $1 million progressive slots as well as a variety of table games, such as blackjack and roulette, all on an easy-to-navigate interface.

The mobile gambling apps also enable users to access the site’s cashier and process transactions using payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, Skrill or direct bank transfers.

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