Borgata Remodel, Rebrand Not Downstate New York Casino Reaction

The $55 million Borgata remodel plans aren’t a response to three pending downstate New York retail casino licenses, according to representatives of the Atlantic City casino. They said remodeling The Water Club tower and rebranding it as the MGM Tower was in the works for “quite some time,” because it’s meant to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Borgata Hotel, Casino, and Spa.

That said, Borgata “is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary” of MGM Resorts International. So it will be impacted by the full licenses that a New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) siting board awards. That makes its future related to the Yonkers raceway, Empire City Casino, because that’s also an MGM property.

On March 22, MGM spokeswoman Dara Cohen confirmed for Bonus that her company is submitting a proposal for a full New York retail casino license for the downstate raceway.

Cohen, MGM’s regional corporate communications director, told Bonus:

A full-scale casino offering a world-class gaming experience in Yonkers is a game-changer that will transform the community with an influx of 13,000 jobs, including more than 2,000 direct hires, and $1 billion in economic activity to the region. As the largest operator on the Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts has more experience in full-scale casinos and gaming than anyone, and we’re eager to showcase the best our company and industry has to offer at Empire City. This historic property is part of the bedrock of the City of Yonkers and the region, and will be a primary economic engine that helps propel these communities and the Great State of New York forward.

MGM is one of many downstate New York casino license hopefuls. So far, the NYSGC hasn’t released any applicant names.

However, New Jersey officials are closely watching the process, because Atlantic City’s nine retail casinos may soon need to compete with those fully licensed downstate New York casinos.

During 2022, those Garden State institutions generated $5.21 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR), according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).

New York State’s 31 commercial and tribal casinos brought in $5.16 billion in GGR, the AGA says. In 2022, $4.23 billion of that was from 13 commercial casinos.

Borgata Remodel Is on a Newer Property Than Yonkers

A Borgata remodel makes sense, considering the 2003-era edifice competes with newer Atlantic City casinos. In 2018, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort opened.

Even so, Borgata is younger than the other inhabitants of the resort city. The MGM property, most recently renovated in 2015, is decades newer than most of its competitors. The oldest, Resorts Casino Hotel, took its first bets in 1978. Among the remaining casinos, only Golden Nugget Atlantic City – which opened in 1985 – wasn’t contemporaneous with bell bottoms.

However, the Yonkers raceway outdoes them all, opening as the Empire City Trotting Club in 1899.

Still, both Borgata and Empire City Casino are new properties for MGM.

In 2016, MGM and MGM Growth Properties (MGM Growth Properties 41,64 0,00%) finished buying Borgata from Boyd Gaming Corporation (BGC).

MGM officials told Bonus on March 22:

Borgata is committed to maintaining its reputation as the leading luxury resort in Atlantic City. We spent last year in design and are very excited to introduce the MGM Tower room product beginning in April. We are excited to introduce the MGM brand into the Atlantic City landscape.

MGM only purchased the Yonkers raceway in 2019.

So maybe MGM is already planning to update that property, too.

MGM spoke generally to Bonus:

We regularly reinvest in our offerings; the MGM Tower room remodel is the most current example of that commitment.

The Borgata Remodel, Rebrand, Won’t Change Casino

Bonus asked if the $55 million Borgata remodel will change the branding of the Borgata Hotel, Casino, and Spa. The short answer is “no.”

MGM told Bonus:

The Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa brand is among the strongest in the industry. Guests know and love Borgata for our incredible amenities and the experience they have when they visit. We are excited to continue welcoming guests to Borgata and creating unforgettable moments for them.

Construction already began, but gamblers will notice more changes soon.

MGM said:

Visitors will see The Water Club letters begin to be removed at the beginning of May and the MGM brand installation in June.

Guests can begin booking the remodeled rooms in April, and by Memorial Day weekend, the rooms are scheduled to be finished.

What Gamblers Can Expect

The Borgata remodel will only impact the tower. Otherwise, gamblers may not notice changes.

Will this Borgata remodel project impact any poker tournaments, Bonus asked:

This project does not impact any gaming tournaments. We recently held a very successful Poker tournament in partnership with BetMGM and will continue to host Blackjack & Poker tournaments in the future.

Currently, smoking is allowed in Atlantic City casinos. MGM referred questions about that and efforts to close that legal loophole to the Casino Association of New Jersey (CANJ), “for consistency.”

As for crime that came to the forefront on March 18, when a 34-year-old man was shot to death on Atlantic City’s boardwalk by Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, MGM said:

The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is always our top priority. Although Borgata is located in the Marina District of Atlantic City, we value our great relationships with Atlantic City Police Department, Casino Association of NJ (CANJ), and neighboring casino resorts, all who diligently work together to keep our city safe.

Borgata is more than 2 miles away from Bally’s.

As for the MGM Tower rooms, the company says more than 700 “completely reimagined guestrooms” will be joined by new luxury options called “Vista Suites.”

The latter will be “located at the tower’s corners, with extraordinary wraparound views of the Atlantic City skyline.” The suites include “an expansive living space,” a bedroom, two bathrooms, and “a spacious dining area.”

The MGM Resorts International Design Group and RVD Associates believe the design and colors mesh a subtle nautical theme with the outdoor sand and sea.

A 9,000-square-foot event space on the 32nd floor replaces the Immersion Spa.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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