In The Nick Of Time: Ocean Resort Casino Lands Late License Hearing On June 20

Written By Grant Lucas on June 14, 2018

A special hearing with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission has been scheduled for Ocean Resort Casino, as the incoming Atlantic City casino will make its case for a much-needed casino license.

There have been few outbursts or expressions of concern from Ocean Resort higher-ups. But next week’s hearing — which would be followed by a June 21 meeting, if necessary — is pivotal for Ocean Resort Atlantic City as it comes just eight days before the casino’s targeted grand opening date.

Meeting more than ‘just a technicality’

Time is of the essence for Ocean Resort Casino, which, along with Hard Rock Atlantic City, is looking to open its doors to the public June 28.

Hard Rock AC received its casino license May 9, leaving its neighbor on the Boardwalk scrambling for its final piece to the puzzle.

Even so, Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and an adviser to Ocean Resort Casino, said officials have not been concerned.

“It’s certainly not anything anybody’s worried about at this point,” Schorr said Monday.

The CCC hearing is scheduled to begin June 20 at 1 p.m. ET, while the if-necessary June 21 meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. ET.

A spokesperson for the CCC told NJ.com on Wednesday that the Division of Gaming Enforcement had filed a report on its findings surrounding Ocean Resort Casino.

“This isn’t just a technicality. Being awarded a casino license is a very major step,” Daniel Heneghan, spokesman for the CCC, told NJ.com. “We will hear testimony and they will discuss their plans to attempt to meet the burden of operating a casino, after which the commission will deliberate and make a decision.”

If a casino license is granted next week, which is expected, Ocean Resort will still be required to undergo a building inspection and an operations test prior to its grand opening.

Ocean Resort Casino preparing for the best

A day before a special hearing with the CCC was announced, Ocean Resort Casino gave media members a preview tour of the expansive 6.4-million-square-foot resort.

Schorr said “90 percent of our employees are on board” and that the casino is “training hundreds and hundreds of people every single day.”

“From everything we know, it’s on time for opening,” said Schorr, whose business partner, Bruce Deifik, owns the casino. “It’s just a long process. Quite frankly, everything that we’re doing is on an accelerated timeline here. Everything we’ve been told is according to our plan and schedule.”

Certainly, the casino license is vital for Ocean Resort if a 3 p.m. opening on June 28 continues to be its goal. Yet resort officials have not wavered, and their plans for a momentous debut continue.

The casino has a lineup of musical performances at both its HQ² Nightclub and Beachclub venues:

  • Nightclub: Diplo (June 29), Jermaine Dupri (June 30), and Crooklyn Clan (July 1)
  • Beachclub: Kaskade (June 30), and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano (July 1)
  • Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub is also scheduled to open June 28

“It’s less about having a specific party and more about getting as many people in the door to see this fantastic property,” Schorr said. “Once people see it, it really speaks for itself.”

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Ocean Resort Casino has a sportsbook, too

The casino also plans to offer single-game wagering after NJ sports betting was legalized earlier this week and went live on Thursday. Ocean Resort has partnered with bookmaker William Hill US for its sportsbook.

Judging by the crowds at Monmouth Park and Borgata Atlantic City on Thursday, the sportsbook will get plenty of attention.

It seems the only missing piece for Ocean Resort’s opening is a casino license. Should it be granted to the resort, however, Ocean Resort — and Hard Rock Atlantic City — could begin the revitalization of Atlantic City as a tourist destination.

“I personally believe it’s the greatest comeback story in the gambling business,” Schorr said. “In the history of gambling, in terms of a comeback story, I don’t know of any jurisdiction that has had some ups and downs that is coming back with such great force and excitement. Between two major resorts opening the same month that sports betting is being legalized in that jurisdiction, that’s a trifecta of opportunity and excitement.”

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant now focuses his attention on the growing NJ online gambling and sports betting scene.

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