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Borgata gets NJ's 1st Internet gambling permit

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WAYNE PARRY | AP

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa on Wednesday received New Jersey's first Internet gambling permit.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement said the casino was the first to file a complete application to offer online gambling, which will begin with a trial period on Nov. 21.

Borgata president Tom Ballance said the award of the state's first online gambling permit to his casino shows the company's commitment to take a leading role in Internet gambling. The Borgata is partnering with bwin.party to offer online betting.

"It's always nice to be first in the queue," Balance said. "Borgata and bwin.party are aggressively pursuing our objective of being among the first to launch online gaming in the state. We believe online gaming is an exciting growth opportunity for New Jersey's gaming industry, one that will generate significant benefits for the state as New Jersey assumes a leadership role in this emerging form of gaming entertainment."

New Jersey residents and visitors will be allowed to begin full online gambling on Nov. 26 assuming the trial period goes well.

All table and slots games available in the casinos will be available online once full play starts.

Gamblers will have to be physically located within New Jersey's boundaries to play. New Jersey will be the third state in the nation to offer online gambling, along with Nevada and Delaware.

Online gambling is designed to give the struggling casinos new revenue, though some worry the in-person business will simply migrate to computers, leading to casino job losses. Atlantic City's casino revenue has plunged from a high of $5.2 billion in 2006 to a little more than $3 billion last year and could dip below that mark by the end of this year. Thousands of casino jobs have been lost already as many gamblers choose options closer to their homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland.

The Borgata consistently leads Atlantic City's 12 casinos in terms of monthly and annual gambling revenue, and has been the dominant casino here since shortly after it opened 10 years ago.

Aside from indicating that the Borgata will be ready to go once Internet gambling can begin in New Jersey, there is little practical benefit to having been awarded the first permit. Lisa Spengler, a spokeswoman for the gaming enforcement division, said each casino must obtain such a permit before starting online play.

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