Before Ocean Resort Casino Opens, It’s All About Erasing Revel’s Mistakes


As a historic June 28 draws closer in Atlantic City, two debuting properties are finishing several updates and changes to their existing facilities. For Ocean Resort Casino, the focus of its renovation is the creation of a much more user-friendly experience for customers.

Unlike Hard Rock Atlantic City’s complete overhaul of the aging and decrepit Taj Mahal, Ocean Resort had a subtler and, perhaps, more difficult task with its revamp. Owner Bruce Deifik had to address both property and practical issues that doomed the building’s previous tenant, the Revel.

Updates to patron access and movement

A common complaint from Revel guests was its awkward interior design. Long walks from the parking garage and confusing game arrangement frustrated gamblers and drove them elsewhere.

One example of the design gone awry is the main escalator, which caused anxiety in patrons due to its height and angle of ascent. Ocean Resort has addressed that anxiety with the installation of glass safety panels to the device.

Revel also did not provide Boardwalk access to patrons, going so far as to install a wall between the property and the famous footpath. The wall is now gone, and both comers and goers to Ocean Resort will have a simple set of stairs to access the casino.

The casino floor will also benefit from a rearrangement of its tables and games. Hopefully, the streamlined design will welcome more players to the new casino.

A more generous spirit at Ocean Resort

One of Revel’s other fatal mistakes was its hyperfocus on high-limit gamblers. Ocean Resort has already declared that it will be more inclusive and welcoming to all types of patrons than its predecessor.

“The first thing we did is pay very close attention to what people said about this place, positive and negative,” Deifik said in an Associated Press interview. “We will listen; that’s a difference-maker. Treat people with respect. Be glad they’re here, and treat them as family members. The main difference is a completely different attitude concerning service to our customer. I think there was a huge disconnect there.”

One major addition will be the new Ocean Buffet. The casino staple was not present in the previous iteration, presumably because of a predisposition to higher status clients.

Another welcome addition will be the placement of designated smoking areas. Revel famously refused to allow smoking on site, which likely drove a good portion of gamblers to other properties.

Finally, the casino will welcome a broader audience by encouraging family travel and bus trips to the property. In fact, Ocean Resort will be the home of Atlantic City’s first Topgolf franchise and the first Wahlburgers location in New Jersey.

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Revel’s ghost in the rearview mirror

After several weeks of speculation, Ocean Resort confirmed last week that it would open on June 28, the same day as the new Hard Rock Atlantic City. Both new casinos must be mindful of the past mistakes made in the respective buildings.

However, by all accounts, both places seem to be updating, renovating, and moving forward on all sides. Let’s hope that remains true as we count down to launch.

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Bart Shirley


Bart Shirley is a writer and poker player from Houston, Texas. When he's not teaching high school math and business, Bart writes about the NJ online casino industry and US online poker. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M.

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