Casino Control Commission Agrees to Allow MGM a Second Chance to Keep Stake in Borgata

February 13, 2013 – In The News
Press of Atlantic City

Las Vegas gambling giant MGM Resorts International will get a second chance to keep its ownership in Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and seek a New Jersey casino license — three years after it left Atlantic City in a highly publicized dispute. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission agreed to restart the licensing process and consider MGM’s request to retain its 50 percent stake in Borgata. MGM will now file an application to qualify for a license.

Regulators emphasized that MGM must go through an exhaustive background investigation before any final decisions are made about its license. In the meantime, MGM’s interest in Borgata will be held in a trust pending completion of the licensing process.

MGM is seeking the license three years after it refused to sever ties with businesswoman Pansy Ho for a Macau casino. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement found Ho an “unsuitable” partner for MGM due to alleged organized crime connections. MGM argues that its bid for a New Jersey casino license should be reconsidered because its relationship with Pansy Ho has changed in the past three years.

MGM, a top operator in the casino industry, owns some of the best-known properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including Bellagio, CityCenter, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage.

Nicholas Casiello, a lawyer representing MGM, told the Casino Control Commission that the company is excited by the prospect of returning to Atlantic City.

“Borgata fits nicely into the long-term marketing strategy of MGM,” Casiello said.

Casiello said MGM has made a substantial investment in Borgata and is also the largest casino landowner in Atlantic City. Its holdings include 72 acres of casino-zoned land next to Borgata and a 14-acre site adjacent to Golden Nugget Atlantic City.