This time around it was supposed to be different for the former Revel Casino.
Deifik “is seeking a new buyer for the 47-story casino, according to a lawsuit filed by a former manager of the resort’s HQ2 nightclub alleging breach of contract and other claims,” Philly.com reported on Wednesday.
On Jan. 10, the rumors were confirmed by Deifik himself: A new owner will take the reins of Ocean Resort and Deifik retain a small, non-controlling interest.
A second chance for Atlantic City’s most expensive casino
After being offline for nearly four years (and suffering through the Glenn Straub ownership era) the $2.4 billion Revel reopened its doors on June 28, 2018 — the very same day the Trump Taj Mahal was officially rechristened as Hard Rock Atlantic City.
Unlike Revel, Ocean Resort wasn’t saddled with insurmountable debt or an energy contract that would make loan sharks blush. Ocean’s issues seem to stem from its lack of brand recognition in the market, and the simultaneous opening of Hard Rock AC.
“Building the customer base and the loyal following is very difficult, especially if you don’t have an established brand,” gambling consultant Robert Ambrose told Philly.com.
Ambrose also expressed disappointment that Deifik wouldn’t have the opportunity to implement his long-term strategy for the property. That’s a sentiment New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck expressed to Play NJ in an August interview.
“I don’t think they have the database others do,” Rebuck said of Ocean Resort’s prospects in the market. “There’s a lot of neat amenities. It’s a spectacular building and when I go through it seems active, there are crowds.”
Like Ambrose, Rebuck believed Ocean Resort possessed a solid long-term plan… if it could get to that point.
Ocean Resort struggles in a crowded market
Over its first six months, Ocean Resort has been at or near the bottom of the pack when it comes to Atlantic City gaming revenue. Worse, the massive property is routinely beaten by the city’s smaller casinos.
The bottom line: Ocean hasn’t been able to differentiate itself in a meaningful way in the market. So it shouldn’t be overly surprising that Deifik will sell the property.