Ocean Resort Casino’s Mystery Owner Revealed To Be New York Hedge Fund

The news of Ocean Resort Casino switching hands started making headlines earlier this month. But at the time, the name of the owner replacing Bruce Deifik was not known.

The mystery buyer is no longer a mystery.

Luxor Capital Group, the private investment firm based in New York City that lent money to Ocean Resort, is assuming ownership of it. There is no connection between the company and Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Luxor will assume control once it receives interim licensing approval, which according to the press release, is expected to take approximately 90 to 120 days.

While the process is being completed, a trust will be created for the purpose of holding the shares of the parent entity to AC Ocean Walk.

More from the press release:

“A trustee, who will be appointed upon closing of the $70 million investment, will oversee this trust until Luxor receives its interim authorization, at which point the trustee will be removed. Ocean Resort Casino expects no operational effects from the temporary existence of the trust.”

While earlier discussions hinted that Deifik would retain a small, non-controlling interest in the property, he, in fact, will have no ownership in the company at all.

Ocean Resort’s future in Atlantic City

As part of the ownership change, plans included a substantial investment of $70 million in the property “to further enhance the exceptional guest and player experience.”

Specific capital investment plans include a world-class buffet, additional suite and room products, and improvements to the casino floor. Ocean Resort also plans on increasing its entertainment programming and player events throughout the year.

From Frank Leone, CEO of Ocean Resort Casino:

“We are incredibly proud of the progress our team members have made in establishing Ocean Resort Casino as one of the premier gaming and leisure destinations in the United States.”

“We opened up the property even more effectively to the Boardwalk, and activated retail spaces and food and beverage options that have been extremely well-received by our guests. We are thankful for the support we have received from the broader Atlantic City and New Jersey community and look forward to an exciting 2019.”

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Ocean Resort and its revolving door of owners

The good news here is that while there is a change in ownership, Ocean will not be closing its doors. The casino and its NJ gambling site will remain open for business. And the transition is expected to be a smooth one while the new owner gets its casino licensing in place.

But it’s the cherry on top of a sour seven months in operation.

The former Revel, the $2.4 billion bust that opened in April 2012 and closed in September 2014, has had a history of ups and downs. Revel opened with a lot of glitz and fanfare, but two bankruptcies and insurmountable debt created a no-way-out scenario.

Glenn Straub purchased the property with plans to transform it into TEN. But constant clashes with Atlantic City officials led him to sell the property to Deifik.

Ocean Resort AC held its grand-opening ceremony on June 28. It was the same day that neighboring Hard Rock Atlantic City (the former Trump Taj Mahal) opened its doors.

While Hard Rock has performed well in the all-important casino revenue department, Ocean has struggled versus the smaller gaming halls in town.

And unlike Hard Rock, Caesars EntertainmentMGM and Atlantic City’s other more established companies, Ocean does not have the brand recognition or the player database that are to key to success.

Time will tell if the new owners have the solution to transform Ocean into the success story it was built to be.

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.