MGM studies New Jersey expansion issue
August 05, 2016 8:22 AM
by Phil Hevener
MGM Resorts is not yet ready to say whether it will go after one of the New Jersey casinos that will be possible assuming voters decide in November to allow casinos north of the Atlantic City area.
“We would certainly be the leading contender to win one of those potential billion-dollar resort opportunities,” Chief Executive Officer James Murren said Thursday, “considering our presence in New Jersey already and the dominance that already Borgate has” in the Atlantic City market.
“We would no doubt be the lead horse,” he continued. “But the issue for us is we don’t yet have the answers to some important questions.”
No one knows yet what the legislation looks like, neither does anyone know what the tax rate will be, assuming voters approve construction of the state’s first casinos north of Atlantic City. It all adds up to more questions than answers for the moment.
The challenge for companies with perspectives like the one MGM has is that the November referendum effectively puts the cart before he horse.
“We need more facts than we have right now,” he said.
As for the referendum: “It’s going to be close. It’s currently polling to fail.” But the election is still almost three months away and it is anyone’s guess what will happen to sway the mass of voters one way or another between now and early November.
Murren said MGM has so far remained on the sidelines as the issue has been debated by civic and business leaders in Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey.
“We’re going to evaluate it and make a decision as to whether we’re positive, neutral or negative within the next few weeks.