As the only Atlantic City casino to report increased operating profits last year during the coronavirus pandemic, Ocean Casino Resort will reinvest $15 million into the property, employees, and the surrounding North Beach area.

Upgrades include casino floor and player’s lounges, as well as pools and cabanas, beach, culinary hospitality, and entertainment experiences, Ocean said in a release Monday.

Ocean is earmarking more than $1 million for annual wage increases and bonuses to eligible employees. Ocean Casino Resort and owner, Luxor Capital Group, will also be donating $50,000 to local charities.

“Ocean’s interest in our people, product, and community is a testament to the progressive direction our property is moving toward as we enter into the summer months,” said Terry Glebocki, CEO of Ocean and president of the Casino Association of New Jersey.

The revival of Ocean Casino Resort

Once a property under financial distress, Ocean more than tripled annual gross operating profits in 2020. The casino reported $21.8 million last year, up from $6.7 million the year before.

Of AC’s nine casinos, Ocean was the only operator to report a year-over-year increase, according to data from state gaming regulators.
As a whole, operating profits for the entire Atlantic City casino industry were down 80.2% in 2020. Casinos had to close for nearly four months and reopened with operating limitations.

But Ocean’s fiscal success in 2020 is in stark contrast to its early performance and suggests the property is on the right track.
Just months after the former Revel Casino Hotel reopened in 2018, state gaming officials expressed concern about Ocean’s financial stability. The casino lost $23 million in its first seven months of operation, forcing Luxor to assume control in early 2019.

What’s in store at Ocean?

A reconfigured casino floor and 250 new slot machines are in the works. Another upgrade is an easy-to-navigate walkway through the casino.
Additionally, a new high-limit table games venue and Asian gaming space will be unveiled soon.

There are also plans for two new guest lounges for Ocean Rewards cardmembers.

“As restrictions are lifted and we begin reopening additional areas of our business, I am thrilled at the opportunity to present our guests with an evolving gaming experience that is unique to the market,” Glebocki said.
Ocean recently opened The Cove, a new high-limit slot area, and The Loft, a private invitation-only table games area.

Employees, charities sharing in Ocean’s success

More than $1 million will provide wage increases and bonuses to Ocean employees. Ocean employed 11% (more than 2,300 jobs) of the total workers in AC casinos.

Ocean and Luxor also pledged to donate $50,000 to a number of local charitable organizations, including AtlantiCare Foundation’s Growing Green Initiative, South Jersey Boardriders, Covenant House of New Jersey, and The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.

“With success comes responsibility, and there is no greater responsibility than doing what’s right,” said Glebocki. “Thanks to the hard work, determination, and commitment of our team, Ocean had a successful 2020, allowing us to issue wage increases, as well as give back to our local North Beach community.”

New players at Ocean Casino Resort

The reinvestment announcement comes on the heels of a new ownership partner for Ocean.

Earlier this month, Ilitch Holdings Inc., a Michigan-based company that owns the Little Caesars pizza chain and operates Detroit’s MotorCity Casino Hotel, acquired a stake in Ocean.

Luxor reached a deal for Ilitch to acquire, through an affiliate, up to half the ownership of the casino.

Luxor said “the Ilitch organization recognizes the success that the team at Ocean has achieved over the past two years.”

AP Photo/Wayne Parry

David Danzis

About

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.