Luxor Capital Group, the New York-based hedge fund, wasted little time in making changes at Ocean Resort Casino.
The ownership change is still in the transitional phase, but the Press of Atlantic City reported that two key members of the management team have been replaced.
Frank Leone and Alan Greenstein, who served as CEO and CFO, respectively, are out.
Eric Matejevich, who previously served as COO at the now-shuttered Atlantic Club, is filling Leone’s role on a temporary basis. Terry Glebocki is taking over for Greenstein. Glebocki is a former CFO of Tropicana Atlantic City.
The Casino Control Commission (CCC) approved Matejevich as designated trustee of Ocean Resort during last week’s hearing.
Luxor Capital released a statement about the shakeup:
“As we move forward with enhancements to the guest and player experience — including substantial increases in our entertainment programming and player events throughout the year, adding a world-class buffet, additional suite and rooms, incremental investments on the casino floor and other exciting projects — Terry and Eric’s expertise will be invaluable in continuing our momentum.”
Ocean remains a property in transition
The new management team faces an uphill financial climb. Since opening in June, Ocean has consistently finished last or near the bottom in revenue.
Luxor will focus on resolving this problem once the ownership change is completed. Last week’s appearance in front of the CCC was a big step in this process.
Former principal owner Bruce Deifik and the new pending owner filed a joint petition for a divestiture trust agreement. The move was unanimously approved by all three members of the committee.
But there was other not-so-great news that came out of the hearing: Ocean was $23 million in the red and failed to meet compliance guidelines since November.
But rumors of a sale started swirling toward the end of 2018.
By Jan. 10, a little more than six months after the property reopened, the sale to a mystery buyer was confirmed. Weeks later, Ocean Resort confirmed via a press release that Luxor Capital was the buyer.
Keep in mind that Ocean opened on the same day as Hard Rock Atlantic City. The latter property — the rebranded Trump Taj Mahal — has not experienced the same struggles.
But Hard Rock is an established brand, whereas Ocean is still trying to make a name for itself.
Next chapter for Ocean Resort AC
Luxor still needs to be approved for a casino license by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The process can take up to 120 days.
Even though the new owner has yet to take over complete control of the property, they have announced plans for a $70 million investment in Ocean Resort.
Next month’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament should certainly help with drawing foot traffic to the property during what tends to be a slower weekday period for Atlantic City casinos.
Meanwhile, Atlantic City’s prime season, Fourth of July through Labor Day, is still several months away.
The property features plenty of amenities in terms of entertainment, dining, and shopping, but the key to success is winning on the casino floor.
It’s an ongoing problem that dates back to the days when the property was known as Revel.
It’s now Luxor Capital’s and the two new managers’ problem to solve.