Ocean Resort Casino Gaming License Hearing Extends into a Second Day

Owners of Ocean Resort Casino, formerly Revel, appeared before the New Jersey Casino Control Commission on Wednesday seeking to obtain a license for the operation of casino gambling at the renovated property that is slated to open doors June 28.

Ocean Resort Casino was purchased by Colorado-based businessman Bruce Deifik this past January. The businessman paid $200 million to acquire the shuttered casino resort from its previous owner, Glenn Straub.

Formerly Revel, the property cost $2.4 billion to be built and launched in 2012. However, it was shuttered just after two years of operation amid a wave of casino closures along Atlantic City’s legendary Boardwalk. Mr. Straub bought Revel out of bankruptcy in 2015, pitching ambitious plans to reopen it and finally turn it into a successful business. However, the businessman failed to meet a number of self-imposed reopening deadlines and more and more intense rumors that he was looking to sell the property began surfacing last summer. As mentioned above, Mr. Deifik eventually bought the shuttered resort in January.

During the Wednesday hearing, the businessman said that they are opening a resort that will “surprise the world” and that has the potential to become one of “the greatest properties” not just in Atlantic City but also in the world.

Mr. Deifik and AC Oceanwalk (parent company of the renovated complex) Chief Financial Officer Alan Greenstein testified before the state’s gambling regulator for around three and a half hours trying to convince commissioners that they should grant Ocean Resort Casino the necessary gaming license. While the property can still open doors on June 28, it will not be able to provide casino services without regulatory approval from the state Casino Control Commission.

Highlights from the Wednesday Hearing

Ocean Resort Casino, just as any other applicant for a gaming license, needs to meet certain requirements under the Casino Control Act in order to be granted that license. The property’s management needs to convince New Jersey regulators that it is aware of the responsibilities that go along with the operation of a gambling business.

In addition, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has presented Ocean Resort Casino with a list of conditions the latter needs to meet to prove its financial stability upon opening.

Mr. Deifik said Wednesday that they have invested more than $200 million in renovating the property and have spent additional amounts of money to attract top performers for the summer season. Celebrity comedian and entertainer Jamie Foxx will be among those as he will host the property’s opening weekend.

The new owner of the complex further pointed out that they have renovated it in a manner that has addressed complaints and concerns from guests and visitors of Revel. The wall that had formerly separated Revel’s casino floor from the Boardwalk has thus been brought down and replaced with a staircase that will now lead to the gambling facility.

It has also become known that Ocean Resort Casino’s gaming floor would feature a sports book that will be located at the center of action. Mr. Deifik has partnered with British bookmaker William Hill for the operation of a betting facility, following the mid-May annulment of the federal sports betting ban by the US Supreme Court.

According to initial forecasts presented to the Division of Gaming Enforcement, Ocean Resort Casino is expected to generate gaming revenue of around $384.6 million in 2019. Mr. Greenstein told casino commissioners yesterday that they believe the renovated property could claim around 10.5% of Atlantic City’s casino market with gaming revenue of $292 million and non-gaming revenue of $127 million during its first year of operation. The official further pointed out that they would look to increase that share to 12% by 2021.

Ocean Resort Casino’s gaming license hearing is slated to resume today at 9:30 am local time. Casino commissioners are expected to announce their decision on whether they would grant the resort the necessary gaming license.

The property is set to swing its doors open on the same day as the renovated Trump Taj Mahal, now branded Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Hard Rock’s complex has already secured a gaming license from the Casino Control Commission.

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