Borgata Casino got a shot in the arm from Lady Justice last Thursday as a federal judge in Nevada ordered a former Borgata casino executive, among others, to return a company-issued mobile phone which contained valuable information on Borgata’s top players and highest rollers.
Aside from instructing the former Borgata exec to return the cell phone, U.S. judge Gloria Navarro also issued a temporary restraining order preventing the two former executives who left Borgata this summer to work for the Ocean Casino Resort from contacting any past, present, or prospective clients of the Borgata Casino. Navarro also ordered the two former Borgata executives not to share trade secrets or confidential information to their new employers.
However, the judge did not order the two executives removed from their jobs at Ocean Casino despite violating unfair competition laws and agreements. In not terminating the two, Navarro reasoned that the plaintiff did not present evidence that proved Ocean knew that the two were using Borgata trade secrets in their current employment.
Last month, Borgata Casino accused Ocean Casino of “poaching” six former executives in what it called an “attempt to cripple “ it by using trade secrets and sensitive information about its top clients. Borgata proceeded to filing a lawsuit after it asserted that the hiring of their former officers violated New Jersey’s unfair competition laws.
Attempt To Cripple Borgata
The case centered on William Callahan and Kelly Ashman Burke, who worked with Borgata’s top clients, and who were recently hired by Ocean Casino. Borgata took exception of Callahan for his failure to return a company-issued cell phone which was said to contain top secret information regarding Borgata’s high-rollers. Borgata claimed that Callahan refused to return the phone even after he had resigned from his post at their casino.
Callahan worked with Borgata’s highest-level customers who spent around $1.5M-$4M per visit. Borgata claimed that these clients were worth a collective $25M per year and Ocean was “crippling” their business using the information that Callahan took from Borgata using his cell phone. The case was filed in Nevada because MGM Resorts International, Borgata’s parent company, is located there.
Atlantic City’s top casino has filed a lawsuit against one of its competitors, claiming that the rival hired half-a-dozen of its former Marketing Executives in an effort to steal trade secrets.
The case was filed on Thursday by MGM Resort International’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa against Ocean Casino after the latter allegedly poached former Borgata executives in an attempt “to cripple” it by using details of its most profitable customers. According to Borgata, Ocean Casino violated unfair competition laws and agreements that prohibit at least two of the highest ranking executives from working for a competitor for a year after leaving.
High-Roller Customer Data
At the center of the complaint is former Borgata exec William Callahan who now works for Ocean Casino. It is alleged that Callahan has retained his Borgata-issued phone which contains valuable information about Borgata costumers. The lawsuit states that Callahan has refused to return the phone as recently as Monday this week.
Callahan was in charge of Borgata’s high-roller customers. These were patrons who spent $1.5M to $4M per visit and who would be flown in and out of the casino’s events using Borgata’s private jet. According to Borgata, these individuals were worth at least $25M per year to the company.
Aside from Callahan, Borgata also mentioned the name of former executive Kelly Ashman Burke in the document. The plaintiff also said that four other ex-marketing personnel have been hired by Ocean Casino in an attempt to “cripple” Borgata’s casino operations in Atlantic City.
Direct and Primary Competitor
The Borgata leads the nine-casino market in the area but in the lawsuit, it asserts that Ocean City is a direct and primary competitor for high-level customers in Atlantic City. Interestingly, Ocean Casino ranks just sixth among the nine Atlantic City casinos in terms of total revenues, making just one-thirds of what Borgata has raked in over the period.
The Ocean City Casino is the former Revel Casino which was shut down in 2014. The Revel operated for over two years and never came close to making a profit. But the casino reopened in 2018 under a new name and ownership and it has improved its ranking in the market.
Last month , Ocean Casino ranked second in Atlantic City casino win with its revenue of $23.6M a 23.1% increase against its July 2019 figures. Ocean saw nine straight months of slot pay growth before the coronavirus pandemic hit last March. Borgata was closed for the most part of July but in terms of income, it still makes three times more than any of its competitor.