- Legal States
Erik Gibbs May 10, 2021 3 min read
Borgata, Ocean Casino Bury the Hatchet in Trade Secret Lawsuit
The Borgata in Atlantic City is calling off its fight against Ocean Casino Resort. The MGM Resorts International property went after its city rival in August of last year, launching accusations of poaching and attempted theft of trade secrets. The two have now reportedly buried the hatchet, ready to dedicate their resources to getting Atlantic City back to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Borgata and Ocean Settle Their Differences
The Borgata had alleged in a lawsuit last August that Ocean was stealing some of its executives in an effort to have the casino’s high rollers follow them. It accused its rival of having hired six marketing executives and, in doing so, was in breach of established non-compete agreements. The Borgata has now dropped its lawsuit after the two operators settled their differences “amicably,” although no terms of the settlement have been made public. For its part, Ocean continues to assert that it did nothing wrong, but admits that it’s glad to be able to move on. The ordeal was reportedly settled late last month.
MGM Resorts, however, stands by its claims that Ocean violated standing agreements and feels that the settlement is a vindication of its allegations. It released a statement that read, in part, “Ocean has agreed to honor Borgata’s restrictive covenants, including its non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions that are designed to protect Borgata’s trade secrets.” No information was provided regarding whether any financial compensation on the part of Ocean was expected to be paid to the Borgata.
Atlantic City Casinos Desperate for Recovery
One of the arguments made by MGM was that a former marketing executive, upon leaving the company, was still in possession of a Borgata-issued phone that contained pertinent information on a number of VIP clients who were known to spend up to $4 million each time they visited the casino. These individuals represented about $25 million a year to the property, which would have potentially given Ocean a big boost in a post-COVID-19 gaming environment. Through the settlement, Ocean will have to return the phone to Borgata and, even though the casino is expected to abide by the “confidentiality provisions,” it still has gained access to names of potential VIPs that it could try to chase over time.
Months after the drama began to unfold, Ocean introduced a new high-roller gaming experience as it looked to begin its post-pandemic recovery efforts. There is still a lot of work that has to be done in Atlantic City before things are back to normal, as revenue last year only reached 20% of what it was a year earlier. The Borgata is still the leader of the local market, however, and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. It outpaces Ocean in revenue, despite the pandemic, and takes in three times more revenue than its rival.