Online NJ gambling would boost casinos' credit ratings -Fitch

Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:11pm GMT

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Feb 19 (Reuters) - The likely legalization of online gambling in New Jersey would be a boon to Atlantic City casinos, which have lost business as customers have chosen to gamble closer to home in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York, Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation earlier this month that would have allowed online gaming in the state. But he indicated he would sign a bill with some changes.

Online gaming could help Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's 'B-minus' issuer default rating with a stable outlook, as well as Caesars Entertainment Corp's 'CCC' rating with a negative outlook, Fitch said.

Marina District Finance Co is the issuing entity for the Borgata, which is owned by Boyd Gaming Corp.

Caesars, which has four Atlantic City properties, and the Borgata together account for more than 60 percent of Atlantic City's gaming revenue.

"Fitch expects Atlantic City casinos to experience some cannibalization from online gaming but on a net basis incremental gaming revenues accruing to Atlantic City casinos should still be positive," Fitch analysts said in a statement.

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