Hoping For Change: Coin Shortage Has Ocean Casino Asking For Your Pennies

Atlantic City casinos are facing the same problem as many other businesses right now: a coin shortage. Ocean Casino will give you free play for your change.

Under normal circumstances, you’d have to pay to have your coins changed into bills. These aren’t normal circumstances, however, as evidenced by the national coin shortage going on.

Because of the lack of pennies, dimes, and nickels in circulation, those who have those coins now have the upper hand. It’s a reversal of fortunes that allows Ocean Casino Resort guests to get a premium for their pennies.

Why is there a coin shortage?

Change is in short supply right now for two reasons, both related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first reason is that to protect employees from transmission, US mints have limited production.

Secondly, more people are using contactless forms of payment and leaving their coins at home.

A rise in e-commerce, such as food delivery instead of dining-in, also contributes to a lack of change in circulation.

Few businesses utilize coins to the extent that casinos do, so the shortage has hit them the hardest. The majority of casinos in the US utilize a ticket system for slot machines and the like. But even so, coins matter.

And it’s not just New Jersey gambling halls. Casinos in other states feel the pinch.

That’s why Ocean Casino has started a special promotion.

Coins for cash at Ocean Casino

For the rest of July, Ocean will give select customers face value for their change in credit for casino play. For your trouble, the casino will also give away $5 in free play on top of the value of the coins contributed.

If you get lucky at the games of your choice using that credit, you could multiply your loose change several times over.

If it’s been a while since you’ve visited an Atlantic City casino, there are a few things you should be aware of before you go, however. The properties are still taking precautions to protect everyone.

What to know before you go to Atlantic City

A few of the normal amenities remain shuttered at Ocean Casino and the other AC gambling halls. These include indoor dining and valet services.

Casinos have shifted or shuttered games to promote social distancing as well. Perhaps most importantly, casinos require that you wear a face mask over your mouth and nose at all times unless you’re drinking or eating.

There is also currently no smoking indoors. Casinos will also screen your body temperature before allowing you access to the property.

Additionally, casinos are only operating at 25% of their fire-code capacity. It’s uncertain how much longer these precautions will remain in place.

Despite the restrictions, you’re in a position of envy if you have a jar full of change at home right now.

Ocean Casino Marks 2nd Anniversary In Atlantic City With Free Room Giveaway

Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City may be closed, but that’s not stopping the AC casino from giving back to their guests with a free room giveaway.

Perhaps this could be called “Healing and Dealing.”

Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City is dealing, offering a free room promotion and a therapeutic outlet for patrons who lost major social plans because of the pandemic.

Customers, who can qualify for a gambling getaway by sharing their stories of missed celebrations and horror stories, may get some emotional healing.

Or at least they can vent. But the deadline is June 20.

On Wednesday, Ocean Casino announced a second-anniversary giveaway of 100 free hotel room nights to customers. Patrons can qualify for consideration by sharing stories about plans gone awry during the pandemic.

Entries must be submitted by June 20 and can be sent to [email protected]

Ocean Casino’s second-anniversary giveaway

The premise of the giveaway is simple, as Ocean explains on Twitter:

The stories are going to be interesting.

Some are heartbreaking. People have missed weddings, parties, anniversaries, and casino trips.

Think of non-refundable deposits or a special-events industry that had to lay people off because of cancellations.

Winners will be announced on Ocean’s social media channels on June 28.

The 100 winners will receive a free overnight stay in Atlantic City, and one grand prize winner will receive the Ultimate Celebration Package that includes a two-night stay, round-trip transportation, meals, and more.

Bringing guests back to Ocean Casino and Atlantic City

This is a unique way to bring customers and gamblers back to the property.

“It is very unfortunate that so many have had to cancel planned celebrations during this unprecedented time,” said Diane Spiers, the Ocean Casino Resort vice president of marketing and advertising.

“It is all about celebrating, so we want to make it up to those people by giving away 100 rooms. We look forward to reopening and celebrating with all of our guests in the near future.”

Before it was Ocean Casino, it was Revel — a $2 billion property that touted its place as a luxury resort in the resort town. It is the newest property on the Boardwalk.

The rooms at Ocean Casino AC are highly regarded by casino patrons. They are spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Interiors are sleek, minimalist, and stylishly appointed with contemporary furnishings.

A free stay is not something to pass up. And a nice anniversary gift.

But when will Atlantic City casinos reopen?

Of course, this was not the second anniversary Ocean Casino was expecting.

Nor is it the summer that Atlantic City was hoping for in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic closed casinos back in March. It is the longest closure in the state’s gambling history.

It is unknown when the casinos will be reopening, though Gov. Phil Murphy has hinted that Phase 3 includes reopening casinos in AC. No date or specifics have been mentioned.

In 2018, Ocean AC opened amid fanfare with several prominent features, including a sophisticated sportsbook by partner William Hill.

When Ocean Casino Resort opened alongside Hard Rock Atlantic City, it was (at the time) considered a turning point for the city. Two new casinos brought an influx of customers and gambling enthusiasts.

The positive vibe was palpable.

And that is the type of spirit Ocean Casino hopes to recoup.

In that vane, the free room giveaway is perhaps a fitting way for NJ gambling fans to celebrate the casino’s reopening — whenever that might be.

Ocean Casino’s New Owner Receives NJ Approval For License, Prepares For Reopening

AC casinos are closed, but during a Wednesday virtual Casino Control Commision hearing, Luxor Capital Group received approval to own Ocean Casino Resort.

Ocean Casino Resort may not have land-based customers at the moment, but Wednesday was a very big day.

During the New Jersey Casino Control Commission hearing, Luxor Capital Group received approval to own Ocean.

The news comes after the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) completed a thorough and comprehensive investigation.

Ocean shared the news via a press release.

Luxor Capital reaction

Luxor Capital getting approval took several months to complete.

Going back to January 2019, the New York-based investment firm was revealed as the new mystery owner.

Call it the first step of a very long process, including Terry Glebocki being named permanent CEO in December. The company took a “top-down, bottom-up approach” to turn the property around.

Of course, now the Ocean team faces the additional challenge of the post-coronavirus shutdown.

For now, the license holder is happy about clearing the first hurdle.

Mike Conboy, a partner at Luxor Capital, commented on the news.

“We thank the Casino Control Commission and Division of Gaming Enforcement for granting Luxor Capital its approval.

“In 2019, Ocean Casino Resort was the fastest-growing casino in Atlantic City. Ocean’s future is bright, and we look forward to welcoming back our guests and employees at the appropriate time,” said Conboy.

Glebocki, who testified during the hearing, also commented on the news.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize my Ocean team. We’ve produced some year-over-year results that we are especially proud of. This was a team effort and wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of each and every team member throughout our property doing their job.

“We look forward to a successful reopening in the not too distant future but until then I hope everyone stays safe and healthy,” said Glebocki.

The impact of COVID-19 on Ocean Casino

Prior to the pandemic forcing the lights to go out temporarily, the property was enjoying quite a ride.

Through the first three months of the year, Ocean has reported a casino win of $45.8 million.

This is good enough for middle-of-the-pack standing:

March, along with April and May, will show a noticeable drop in revenue across the board.

The most recent DGE numbers show Ocean took a 46.2% hit in total gaming revenue for March. And that is a result of being closed for just two weeks.

Plus, as a result of the closure, Ocean’s plans that are targeted for a summer reveal are delayed. They include:

  • Completing 12 unoccupied floors of hotel rooms.
  • Finishing plans for new high-limit slot and table game lounges.
  • Reconfiguring the casino floor.

With New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy extending the public health emergency another 30 days, it’s difficult figuring out a timeline.

Focusing on the reopening plans, however, is a priority.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Glebocki said the company launched a survey to 50,000 guests this week. The early “overwhelming response” is that people want to come back.

Finding out what is important to those loyal guests tops the list.

While opening by Memorial Day weekend is unrealistic, the team is taking the necessary steps.

“We look forward to the successful reopening.

“And I can tell you that we are working round the clock to prepare for that reopening so that we can do it in both a safe and trusted environment for both our guests and employees,” said Glebocki.

Ocean and a renewed online gaming focus

During the hearing, Glebocki was asked if she sees online casino gambling an area of potential growth for Ocean.

“Absolutely,” is the short answer.

And there is plenty of room for improvement. For March, the casino reported $658,916 in NJ online casino revenue, ranking last among the seven license holders. This is still good enough for a 32.4% year-over-year increase.

Keep in mind that the Ocean online casino does not have an Apple iOS app yet. Parx is the only other brand operating under the license.

Call it the next step of a long-term plan.

“In 2019, our focus at the property was the brick-and-mortar. There was so much we wanted to get done from a brick-and-mortar standpoint, and that is exactly what we did,” said Glebocki.

“In our plan for 2020, it included more iGaming focus. We’ve been working with the division to get more initiatives in place for iGaming. There is a lot of room to grow there, and the future is bright.”

 

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

Terry Glebocki, joined the Ocean Casino Resort team as CFO of its Atlantic City casino, and worked very hard to help ‘right the ship.’

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 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.