Bruce Deifik Buys Revel and Renames It Ocean Resort Casino

Ocean Resort Casino - Bruce Deifik Revel Casino

Bruce Deifik plans to reopen as the Ocean Resorts Casino in the summer of 2018.

After months of speculation, the Revel Casino in Atlantic City was sold to Colorado developer Bruce Deifik for $200 million. Florida businessma bought the casino in a bankruptcy auction for $83 million in 2014.

Gaming analysts and financial analysts have mixed opinions on whether Atlantic City will be able to sustain two more casino operations. At the moment, 7 casinos operate in Atlantic City, but Hard Rock Atlantic City and the successor to Revel Casino could open by the midpoint of 2018, adding significant competition.

Hard Rock Atlantic City, formerly known as Trump Taj Mahal, plans to open in May 2018. Bruce Deifik said he plans to reopen the Revel Casino in the summer of 2018, not long after Hard Rock’s grand opening.

Bruce Deifik: “A Dream Come True”

For his part, Bruce Deifik appears to have no qualms about the purchase. Deifik told CNBC that purchase was “a dream come true”. The Colorado developer said he plans to rename the building the Ocean Resort Casino.

Bruce Deifik believes Revel Casino was a victim of circumstance — financed and built at a time of economic boom, then opened and operated at a time of economic collapse. In its 29 months of operation, the $2.4 billion Revel Casino declared bankruptcy twice.

The Revel Building is considered the most opulant and grandiose skyscraper in Atlantic City, so Deifik believes it can be a success in a different economic climate. He told the national press, “We are incredibly excited that we were able to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire this tremendous property at a time when Atlantic City is seeing great economic strides. The former Revel property opened at a time when Atlantic City was still in economic recovery, and operationally it just did not cater to the customer base for this destination.”

Atlantic City Casino Industry

The news is not a welcome one for the other casinos in the city. For years, Atlantic City had as many as 12 casinos in operation at the same time. Revenues declined by more than 50% from its peak year in 2006 ($5.4 billion) to 2014 ($2.4 billion), due to the Global Recession, Hurricane Sandy’s financial impact, and market fragmentation due to Pennsylvania and New York’s growing casino industries.

2014 was a watershed year for Atlantic City, because it saw four casinos close: The Atlantic Club, The Showboat, Trump Plaza, and Revel Casino.

A fifth casino, Trump Taj Mahal, declared bankruptcy and nearly closed, though billionaire investor Carl Icahn bought Trump Entertainment and kept the casino open throughout 2015 and the first half of 2016. Amidst a workers strike in the summer of 2016, Carl Icahn announced he would close Trump Taj Mahal in October of that year.

Hard Rock Atlantic City Competition

Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, bought Trump Taj Mahal from Icahn in the spring of 2017 and announced they would invest $500 million in the operation. Meanwhile, Florida developer Glenn Straub had trouble obtaining casino and alcohol licenses from the Division of Gaming Enforcement and other New Jersey regulators.

That was a boon for the seven remaining Atlantic City casinos. With less competition, the remaining AC casinos became profitable by 2016 at the latest. Even as Atlantic City’s finances cratered and the job market reached a low point, the remaining casino industry began to look viable. Whether the city can sustain 9 casino operations in 2018 and beyond is another matter.

Ocean Resort Casino’s Workforce

The Ocean Resort Casino will employ 2500 to 3000 Atlantic City workers. The gaming operation will house 2200 slot machines and 100 gaming tables. Deifik said he plans to bring back several of the brand name restaurants which were in the original Revel Casino, while opening new eateries, including a noodle bar. The new owner also expects to open a high-roller club in the Ocean Resort Casino.

Licensing should not be a problem for Ocean Resort Casino, like it was for Glenn Straub and Polo North. Bruce Deifik is the CEO and President of Integrated Properties, which owns 103 properties in 5 states across the United States. Many of those properties are in Denver and Phoenix, but a famous one is the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in Palm Springs, California.

Bruce Deifik Casino Licensing

Though he is not a casino developer like many new competitors in Atlantic City, Bruce Deifik is a better known figure than Glenn Straub ever was. Many in Atlantic City wondered whether Glenn Straub bought Revel in order to flip the property, perhaps due to his early claims that he might turn the building into a railway junction or a think tank and “university for geniuses”.

Over time, Glenn Straub gained a reputation for litigiousness, as he sued two New Jersey state agencies, the electricity company which supplied energy to the Revel Building, and the many tenants who had contracts with Revel Casino. Whatever the case, Glenn Straub should make a terrific profit on the Revel Casino — having held the property for 3 years and turned an $83 million purchase (plus $30 million for ACR Energy Partners) into a $200 million windfall.