MGM CEO: ‘Atlantic City’s Darker Days Are Behind It’

[toc]MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said he believes Atlantic City has already hit rock bottom, and that brighter days are ahead.

What Murren said about AC

Speaking at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C., Murren was there to talk about MGM National Harbor, a $1.4 billion resort and casino opening in Maryland.

During his appearance, he was asked about AC and its future. MGM recently took complete control of Borgata, after previously sharing ownership with Boyd Gaming. Murren, referencing the purchase, said MGM took over Borgata because of an optimistic vision of the future of the resort town:

“I did so with the belief that Atlantic City’s darker days are behind it, and that we’re already stabilizing that market,” Murren said. “And we’re going to see gradual improvement.”

The casino industry has fallen on difficult times, with five casinos closing their doors in recent years. Trump Taj Mahal was the latest casualty.

“I would not have just invested additionally another $800 million into Atlantic City if I did not believe that it could move forward,” Murren said later his comments.

His full statements can be seen here. (The part about AC starts at about the 40-minute mark.)

More on AC’s problems

Despite the comments above, Murren also didn’t paint the rosiest picture for AC.

“That’s not to say everyone’s going to do well there,” Murren said. “Everyone doesn’t own a Borgata. We have by far the highest quality resort there.”

Borgata continues to be the standard bearer for the resort town; in October, it accounted for about a third of land-based gaming revenue. Borgata is also a leader in the NJ online gambling market.

Murren also alluded to the troubles of the city itself, which is going through a takeover by the state.

“We’re going to look to continue to work with the state and the city. The city’s got a tough road ahead of it, but we want to be part of the solution,” Murren said. “And I look forward to working with the state and Atlantic City to continue to move that really important market forward.”

MGM not resting on Borgata’s laurels

Despite Borgata’s position atop the AC gaming market, Murren indicated that the status quo will not persist.

“So we’re going to grow our business,” Murren said. “MGM owns dozens of acres all around Borgata.”

What exactly MGM has planned for the space around Borgata is unknown.

About the Author

Dustin Gouker

Aside from his role as editor at, Dustin Gouker writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.