The Mysterious Sale of Ocean Resort Casino

The Ocean Resort casino and hotel
The Ocean Resort has had a checkered history of openings, closures and assorted owners.

30-second summary

  • Ocean Resort Casino reopened in June after almost four years of closure
  • A mystery buyer has now taken control of the resort
  • The buyer is planning to invest $75m in the resort’s facilities

A checkered history

The Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, on the famous Boardwalk, initially opened its doors for business in April 2012, operating as the Revel Casino Hotel Atlantic City. The development cost was put at $2.4bn. It closed in September 2014, when its then owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Casinos in Atlantic City were seriously struggling at that time. Three other casinos closed down in 2014 alone. But Ocean’s was the most high-profile bankruptcy of them all.

There was a deal on the table to quickly sell off the resort for $90m, which would have been a massive loss. However, the deal fell through and the casino was put up for auction instead.

The planned buyer was Brookfield Asset Management, but it too pulled out of the $110m deal. The owners had little other option available than to sell the casino for $82m to the Polo North Country Club in 2015. The reopening of the resort was beset with problems, and the opening date was constantly delayed.

Eventually, the business was sold again for $200m in January 2018 to AC Ocean Walk. Colorado developer Bruce Deifik has a majority share in the company.

It reopened on June 27, 2018 under the new name of the Ocean Resort Casino. More than $175m was invested in the casino to bring it up to standard before opening.

The casino operations are in the hands of GAN, which has partnered with William Hill for its sports betting operations. GAN launched its first online casino launch in July 2018, allowing bettors aged 21 and older in New Jersey to play many different slot titles.

The casino is now the subject of another interesting sale.

Who is behind this new deal?

Just six months after reopening its doors, the Ocean Resort Casino has been sold yet again – to a mystery buyer. There were many rumors in the days leading up to the sale that AC Ocean Walk was looking for a buyer.

Since reopening, the casino has struggled to attract enough gamblers and guests to be profitable. The new buyer is clearly optimistic enough to make the investment.

There is some interest as to the identity of the company – or individual – who is taking over the Ocean Resort Casino. But it may take a while for their identity to be revealed.

Reportedly, the new owner is planning to put an investment of $70m into the resort. Widespread improvements will be made to the gaming facilities, as well as the hotel.

Deifik and his family will continue to have a small stake as part of the deal. He believes that there is a lot of potential in the project and has thanked the staff at the casino for their efforts.

Poor recent results

The Ocean Resort Casino is on a downward spiraling trend. Revenues declined three months in a row from September to November. However, it has a thriving sportsbook that the new owner will try to build upon as an attraction. Margins on sports betting are tight, so this performance is unlikely to have much of a direct impact on revenues.

The new owner also needs to obtain a license from the gaming regulator in New Jersey.

Atlantic City as a whole is seeing some more positive results. The December figures have not yet been released, but it has been a strong year to date for the sector.

Sports betting has certainly helped since sportsbooks started to open in June. There has been a large intake, which is only going to grow as a number of the casinos are constructing significant facilities for their sportsbooks.

More of the casinos will also be getting into online sports betting, which is proving to be a massive success so far in the state. More is now being wagered on sports betting through mobile apps than at physical locations in New Jersey.

Revenues for table and slots games were bottom of the pile for the nine casino operators in Atlantic City.