The Associated Press reports that Bruce Deifik has officially purchased the New Jersey casino for $200 million, with plans to reopen this summer under a new name. Deifik finalized the transaction with previous owner Glenn Straub on Thursday.
Rumors of the sale had been lingering for several months without confirmation from either party.
Ocean Resort Casino set to open in 2018
According to the report, the property will reopen in 2018 as Ocean Resort Casino. The projected timeline is ambitious, and it overlaps Hard Rock’s reopening of the former Taj Mahal under its own branding.
This week, Deifik went on record for the first time regarding his purchase:
“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.”
The $200 million price tag is much more than the $82 million Straub paid for it. But it’s still a bargain against the $2.4 billion construction cost.
Deifik has not said much regarding his plans for the space, but investors’ documents allocated $175 million for updates and improvements. He did tell AP he plans to add a sports book to the property if the Supreme Court ruling allows New Jersey sports betting.
There is some concern about whether or not Atlantic City can support two grand openings. Some attribute the recent closure of five casinos to oversaturation of the market. And the Hard Rock property will likely win the race to get the doors open.
Deifik heads to New Jersey
The property had been the subject of rumors for several months prior to the actual sale. During a court proceeding regarding Straub’s casino license last year, the press uncovered documents that seemed to reveal plans in progress.
On Aug. 31, AC Ocean Walk LLC filed an agreement of sale with the county clerk. Bruce Deifik’s name appeared for the first time in relation to the deal, listed as the group’s authorized representative. The Colorado-based developer has ties to more than 100 other large properties, mostly in the western US.
More supporting documents emerged in the subsequent months, including investors’ reports and mortgage agreements. The purchasing entity changed a few times, but Deifik’s name remained as a constant throughout. The most recent documents were filed in late December under the company name ACOWRE LLC.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) also confirmed that it had received a casino license application from the suspected buyer in December.
Straub loudly denounced the rumors throughout the process.
Straub out of Atlantic City
The sale of Revel/TEN marks the end of one of the most tumultuous tenures in Atlantic City’s history. And that’s saying something. Straub has never really gotten along with the regulators who oversee him.
In 2015, Straub bought Revel out of bankruptcy court. Another group initially outbid him, but the sellers gave him a second chance after the primary deal fell through.
He has promised to reopen the property a number of times in a variety of forms, pitching obscure and grandiose ideas like a Tower of Geniuses. Despite his ambitions, he secured neither a liquor license nor a casino license for TEN.
Lately, Straub has been tied up in court with gaming officials over their requirements. He has blasted regulators’ red tape and publicly questioned why anyone would do business with New Jersey.
Although he presumably turned at least some profit on the bottom line, it’s hard to say how well Straub made out on his investment. He spent tens of millions of dollars just getting power and water to the building, so put him down for around $125 million up front. Then there were a handful of half-finished projects, presumably significant legal fees, and whatever staff he retained for upkeep.
It’s not clear how much Straub invested in the property, but we know how much revenue he earned: $0.
The relationship was never any fun, and it’s officially been called off after three years. With his signature on Deifik’s proposal, Straub has inked his exit plan from Atlantic City for good.