Two Years After Golden Nugget Launch, Live Dealer Games Make The Leap To Borgata

The live dealer gaming industry is still in its infancy, perhaps moving into toddlerhood.

Live dealer games were introduced at Golden Nugget NJ online casino in August 2016. Since then, Golden Nugget has been the undisputed leader in live dealer gaming.

In March 2018, the casino raked in $8.7 million in gross gaming revenue. Some would credit live dealer games for the NJ gambling site’s success. In second place was Borgata, which generated $4.6 million the same month.

Now, however, Golden Nugget’s closest competitor could be making a move in the market that Golden Nugget, in a sense, created.

Golden Nugget builds a foundation

Until recently, only two online casinos had offered live dealer games — Golden Nugget and its partner Betfair (now FanDuel). Both NJ gambling sites broadcast games live from Golden Nugget’s land-based casino in Atlantic City.

A gaming option for nearly two years, live dealer games — which include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and casino poker — combine the convenience afforded by online gambling with the social aspect of roaming a casino floor. There are real dealers using real playing cards and real roulette wheels being spun.

Then, just last month, Golden Nugget launched a new version of live dealer roulette: Live Casino Floor Roulette.

In each month’s gambling revenue figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), Golden Nugget is seemingly always at the top of the list. A key factor in the casino’s success may very well be live dealer games.

“Out of our top 10 games in wagering, four are live dealer games,” said Thomas Winter, a higher-up charged with supervising Golden Nugget’s online gaming, in January.

He noted that GN’s live dealer games have increased the casino’s online table game revenue by 150 percent since its launch in 2016.

“We believe Live Dealer has the potential to become bigger than online poker in revenues in the US.”

The online casinos under the Golden Nugget license account for about one-third of all revenue in New Jersey. And Golden Nugget has continued to expand its gaming selection, as it now boasts the biggest library of games in New Jersey.

Now, though, Golden Nugget will get its first taste of live dealer game competition.

In comes Borgata’s live dealer games

Borgata recently soft-launched live dealer games at its online casino as well as it’s affiliated NJ gambling sites, playMGM and PartyCasino NJ.

All three NJ online casinos will offer these four live dealer games:

  • American Blackjack Live
  • Casino Hold’em Live
  • American Roulette Live
  • Baccarat Dragon Bonus Live

Games on the Borgata, playMGM, and PartyCasino sites will run from 2 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and noon to 3 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Golden Nugget does not appear overly concerned with the competition; the AC casino is reportedly renting out its live dealer game studio to Borgata. And why should it be worried? The casino still rules in revenue.

Certainly, Borgata recognizes the value of live dealer games. In March, Golden Nugget earned double the revenue of its nearest competitor, Borgata, which has solidified itself as the runner-up for some time. Caesars, however, closed the game and reached within $100,000 of Borgata.

Of course, the road is long for Borgata — or any casino, for that matter — to catch Golden Nugget. But Borgata’s latest addition will no doubt help the casino pull away from Caesars and perhaps inch closer to the NJ online gambling leader.

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More competition entering the market?

For nearly two years Golden Nugget has monopolized live dealer gaming. Why? Building and running a live dealer studio deals quite the hit to a casino’s budget. Now, that sector of the industry could be on the rise in terms of venues offering live dealer games.

For one, it is difficult to ignore the success Golden Nugget has enjoyed in that market. What’s more, with last fall’s legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania, the cost of running live dealer games could be offset by a potential presence in two markets out of a single studio.

In Atlantic City alone, existing casinos are seeking out ways in which to establish a solid customer base as the summer nears. After all, within the next few months, two highly publicized casinos — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino — are scheduled to open.

Both properties are expected to offer online gambling, and with each already looking to hit the ground running, it is possible that each casino might turn to live dealer games to make names for themselves out of the gate.

Borgata certainly has high hopes for its live dealer launch.

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.