MGM Gains on Expected Reopening of Atlantic City Borgata Hotel

MGM preps the reopening of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, its flagship property in Atlantic City.

Shares of MGM Resorts  (MGM) - Get Report traded higher Wednesday as the global casino and resort operator prepped the reopening of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, its flagship property in Atlantic City.

The MGM-owned property will reopen on July 26, almost three weeks after eight of the resort’s other casinos across the U.S. reopened to the public, the company announced.

Shares of MGM were up 7.36% at $17.35 in trading on Wednesday.

Atlantic City’s casinos were given the green light to resume operations July 2 following a near four-month industry-wide closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. MGM had planned to reopen the Borgata on July 6, but furloughed the plans after Gov. Phil Murphy reversed course on permitting indoor dining. 

“Following the governor’s directive to postpone indoor dining, we took a step back to reassess our reopening date to ensure we could give our guests the world-class experience they expect from us, safely,” Borgata Chief Operating Officer Melonie Johnson said in a statement issued by the hotel.

The casino will adhere to state mandates concerning masks, 25% gaming floor capacity and social distancing at slot machines and table games. The state also prohibited smoking, eating or drinking on the casino floor.

Both MGM and Caesars Entertainment  (CZR) - Get Report have doubled down in their efforts to combat Covid-19 with new rules unveiled last month that require all guests and patrons on their respective properties - not just in Las Vegas - to wear face masks.

Borgata said it expects to bring back about 40% of its employees for the first phase of reopening, which will include screening measures for all workers and mandatory masks for all employees and guests throughout the resort. 

To promote physical distancing, every other slot machine will be disabled, and polycarbonate barriers have been installed at many of the table games. Poker will not be available in this first phase of reopening.