MGM Resorts Expects to Win Back N.J. License This Fall

Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- MGM Resorts International said it expects to be allowed to operate in New Jersey within the next two months, four years after the casino operator agreed to leave the state amid questions over its business in Macau.

Regulatory approval could allow the company to participate more in the running of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, which it co-owns with Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD), Chief Financial Officer Dan D’Arrigo said in an interview this week.

“Borgata continues to be the market leader,” D’Arrigo said. “We’re pretty excited to be able to regain our seat in the partnership.”

In 2010, MGM Resorts agreed to exit the state following a recommendation by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement that the company end its joint venture in Macau with Pansy Ho, whose family has been connected to organized crime in the China gambling hub. MGM put its Borgata interest into a trust and agreed to find a buyer. The company never sold its half of the property and last year asked regulators to reconsider its ability to operate in the state.

The Gaming Enforcement division, which investigates casino licensees, plans to submit a recommendation on MGM Resorts’ status to the state’s Casino Control Commission by the end of the month, according to Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman for the division.

“It’s anticipated that a hearing will be held regarding the matter in September,” she said in an e-mailed statement.

Atlantic City has been pummeled by regional gambling competition in the U.S. Northeast and is enduring the closure of a number of casinos, including Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s Showboat. Regulators are trying to reinvigorate the industry by encourage online gambling operations.

MGM Resorts, based in Las Vegas, earlier this week reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by an increase in gambling in the Nevada strip.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net Ben Livesey, Rob Golum

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