Borgata opening: Fun, upscale, energetic

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- From the moment the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa opened at 11:40 p.m. July 2, the place was buzzing.

The casino hotel's CEO Bob Boughner, who oversaw the seven-year, $1 billion project from the drawing board, said, "This is the end of the beginning."

The hotel was on time and on budget, Boughner said, and its opening night "met all our expectations. We are really jazzed. Last night was fun, upscale, energetic and international, all the things we said it would be."

The 2,002-room joint venture between Boyd Gaming Corporation and MGM Mirage is New Jersey's largest hotel and dominates the Atlantic City skyline.

Conceived by Steve Wynn before his Mirage Resorts was purchased by MGM Grand, the Borgata is designed on the model of Las Vegas' newer upscale properties, such as the MGM Grand, the Venetian and the Bellagio.

The president of Atlantic City's city council Craig Callaway said, "We thank Boyd Gaming Corporation and MGM Mirage for bringing Las Vegas to Atlantic City. It looks a lot better in Atlantic City than it does in Nevada."

Callaway said the city hopes that the Borgata will grow the market.

"We've been getting the same 4 or 5 million people who come several times a year," he said. "We think the Borgata will enable us to penetrate the larger market we haven't been able to penetrate, the 25 million people in this area."

The property, the first in Atlantic City in 13 years, features a contemporary, European style with 11 restaurants, 11 retail shops, a spa, 70,000 square feet of meetings and events space, 145 gaming tables and 3,650 slot machines.

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