Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Borgata in Atlantic City (gambling, entertainment)

I haven't been to Atlantic City in years, but since I've been going to casinos more frequently these days, decided to give it a chance as they're comping me rooms during the summer. Went for a quick one night stay with a friend.

The nice view from the 43rd (top) floor

The view from our room on the top floor was about the only thing I liked about my visit. And it wasn't even that I'm pissed that I lost money or something like that, I was actually up slightly for the trip.

One of my main complaints is that I just don't like all the little charges here and there. I don't know if this has always been a Borgata thing, or if it's basically just an MGM thing that happens at all their properties. Let's start from the beginning. Parking is not free. At least I have a comp for free parking. I get to my room and I see that the wifi password was written on my room number packet. I'm about to sign on when I decide, "let me just look through the terms of service". There it is, wifi charge. Screw that. I'm barely in the room, not paying for wifi. Then when I check out, it turns out that my room comp does not cover resort fees. So I use my express comps to pay for it. Honestly all of this is bullshit. I've been getting comped to nearby casinos all summer, and NONE of them have charged for parking, wifi, or resorts fees (although this last one may be a NJ thing).

Well, if the casino is a good time, a few extra charges here and there isn't a deal breaker. Except the casino wasn't great either. First of all, the place is big, not well-organized, and not well-labeled. I spent a lot of time getting lost and just walking. The seats felt old and even where there wasn't any smoking that stench was still hanging around. One thing I found really annoying was that I couldn't even play one hand without them taking my player's card and logging it. All I wanted to do was play one hand and use up my match play before dinner, and it ended up taking like 5 minutes.

This whole bigger, older, and slower thing was evident in the poker room too. The poker room is huge, but with primarily open seating, felt a bit chaotic. The tables and chairs felt old and worn, while none of the USB chargers I tried at my table worked. There is no rake here, players pay for time. While to a lot of players that sounds great, what happens is there is no incentive on the casino's end to speed up the pace of the game. I was there for probably 7 hours and in that entire time there was only one dealer who dealt at a speed equivalent to the other casino poker rooms I've played at the past couple of months. Sure, I probably paid less in time than I would have in rake, but not getting as many hands in makes the game a lot less enjoyable (and profitable).

The sports/racebook was super crowded, practically standing room only as all the main sitting areas (with personal TVs) were filled with old men and their daily racing forms. It's clearly designed (the way it looked that day anyway) as a racebook and I can't imagine it being a good place to watch big sporting events. Although if you're a horse racing degen who's betting 10 races per track across 5 tracks it's probably a really good time.

Again, a large part of my dissatisfaction is probably just personal preference. I view gambling as an entertainment/service industry and I feel smaller, more local businesses are better at that. I'm not thrilled with MGM buying more and more properties and their corporate nature, although they do send me plenty of comp offers now and then.

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