Ocean Casino’s New CEO: ‘We Have No Plans Of Slowing Down’

Terry Glebocki is the new CEO of Ocean Casino Resort. It’s a role she has been serving on an interim basis since August.

Her title became permanent on Dec. 3.

Glebocki has 30-plus years of experience in the Atlantic City casino industry. Those roles include vice president of finance for Trump Entertainment, CFO of Revel (now Ocean), as well as corporate CFO for Tropicana Entertainment.

Prior to the temporary CEO role, Glebocki had spent 10 months as CFO at Ocean. The property is currently riding the wave of six-straight months of profitability.

Yes, this is the same Ocean that was dealing with regulatory compliance issues at the beginning of the year.

NJ Gambling Sites caught up with Glebocki last week to discuss the hot topics at Ocean, including her new role, the NJ online casino industry and a look ahead to 2020.

Righting the ship at Ocean

When talking about how far Ocean has come in 2019, a quick look back is needed. The property grand opening took place on June 27, 2018 (the same day as Hard Rock Atlantic City).

While Hard Rock had international brand recognition, Ocean was a new name to the AC market. But there was a much bigger issue: Through its first seven months of operation, the company was $23 million in the red.

Of course, there was the much-publicized news of Luxor Capital Group taking over ownership, too.

Glebocki came aboard early in the year to help turn things around.

“I joined the team as CFO and worked very hard to help right the ship,” said Glebocki.

“Having been here 10 months and now the CEO, I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the team responsible for making Ocean Casino Resort successful.”

The sustained hot streak was evident in November numbers released last week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement:

  • Casino win came in at $19.5 million. That is a 66.8% year-over-year increase.
  • Total gaming revenue was $22.6 million.
  •  More importantly, the 48.2% year-over-year increase is tops among the nine AC casinos.

“I’m proud to say we have been profitable for six months in a row; June through November. We’ve experienced double-digit, year-over-year revenue growth for the past five months,” said Glebocki.

Ocean needed to ‘make changes fast’

When a casino is operating in the red, there is a realistic possibility of closure. The long-standing Atlantic City debate has centered around what is the right number of gambling halls.

Ocean, unlike Revel, did not go down that road.

Glebocki said, turning around the property involved making a lot of changes fast. She referred to it as a “top-down, bottom-up approach.”

“We needed to grow the revenues while reducing expenses. Certainly not the easiest thing to do, but that’s exactly what we did,” Glebocki said.

“We increased marketing offers to drive visitation, examined every expense and changed the fixed cost structure.”

Making customers aware that there is a casino also helps. The property opened as Ocean Resort Casino. The latter now takes top-billing as part of the “casino-first philosophy.”

“We knew it was important to listen to our guests’ ideas and concerns, and I’m proud to say we’ve tailored the improvements made, thus far, to be responsive to what our guests expressed,” said Glebocki.

Glebocki knows Atlantic City

The Ocean management team will undoubtedly face its share of challenges over the next few months. January and February are traditionally two of the slower months at the Jersey Shore due to the weather.

Keep in mind the current run of double-digit jumps coincides with the start of the summer season. Glebocki credits “compelling marketing offers” and a great guest experience “that is unparalleled in the market” as a couple of reasons behind the success.

Of course, spending her entire career in town (along with much of her team), Glebocki said she understands the competitiveness of the market.

“However, the team has had gaming experiences in other states and jurisdictions as well, Glebocki said.

“This gives us a well-rounded perspective, not just of what works best in Atlantic City, but what works well for our guests overall. This knowledge and experience translate into providing our guests what they expect, great offers, great service, and great value.”

Ocean + developing online casino business

While the casino floor business is much improved, the same cannot be said about the online casino.

Ocean’s internet gaming revenue is dead last among the seven license holders with $549,740. That is a 24.9% drop.

Also, Ocean online casino is currently only available for Android customers, which explains part of the issue. The iOS version remains a work in progress.

Plus, stabilizing the brick-and-mortar business has been the primary focus.

Glebocki said there are online initiatives in place for the coming year, including enhanced marketing offers.

“We’ve seen tremendous volumes online through our sports betting platform (William Hill NJ). We are looking to replicate that success with our online casino,” said Glebocki.

“We have several partner skins in development, and we are working with our service provider to deliver a better experience to our guests.”

New game content is added weekly. Glebocki noted there are integrated rewards and an all-new VIP program coming “very soon.”

“We’re not stopping there … we are excited to launch an iOS app, and a  live dealer option shortly,” she said.

The free-to-play OceanSocialCasino.com site will be relaunching soon, too. So, it’s clear the Ocean team is not ignoring the online casino sector.

William Hill + Ocean = Winning team

NJ sports betting is essential to the bottom line; however, it’s more established than the mobile casino business.

At 7,500 square feet, William Hill (Caesars Sportsbook) at Ocean is one of Atlantic City’s largest. Only The Book at Bally’s (15,228 square feet) and Moneyline Bar & Book (8,000 square feet) at the Borgata are bigger.

Plus, the room, complete with a state-of-the-art video display, is located in the center of the casino floor. Those seeking “the ultimate VIP experience” can rent out one of three skybox suites.

In terms of year-to-date sports betting revenue, Ocean has earned $16.2 million, the bulk of which ($12.5 million) is via the William Hill app.

New Jersey sports betting, as a whole, continues to be hot. November alone, the industry topped a half-billion in wagers, which is a new record.

NJ sports betting legislation allows for Ocean to add two additional online skins. With Parx operating its NJ online casino app under the Ocean license, there is a possibility of adding sports at a later date. Ocean also has yet to launch a self-branded sports wagering product.

Glebocki did not share any details related to those two scenarios. Of course, the focus now is preparing for a busy first quarter.

The Super Bowl is taking place Feb. 2 in Miami, and March Madness betting follows a month later. Those are the two biggest events on the calendar.

As a result, Glebocki said, “We believe the business will continue to build.”

Ocean + 2020 plans

Glebocki and the Ocean team have things on the right track. So, what’s next?

Well, there are certainly no plans to sit back and do nothing. Without going into specifics, Glebocki said Ocean would be enhancing and adding new gaming experiences for guests. There are ongoing talks with business partners interested in providing amenities and services that will really “wow our guests.”

So, in other words, to continue building upon this year’s strong foundation.

“We have no plans of slowing down, and we are excited to carry our momentum into 2020,” Glebocki said.

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.