Glebocki Resigns As CEO Of Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Hotel

Terry Glebocki, who led Ocean Casino’s turnaround from a flailing operation to one of AC’s top performers, has unexpectedly stepped down.

Terry Glebocki is resigning her role as CEO of Ocean Casino Resort, according to the Atlantic City casino.

Glebocki led Ocean’s turnaround from a flailing operation to one of the city’s top performers. The longtime financial executive had been the casino’s CEO since 2019.

Glebocki’s resignation unexpected

No reason was given for her departure.

“Glebocki has three decades of financial management experience, which navigated Ocean’s course to financial stability,” the casino said in a statement Monday. “Terry joined Ocean on the brink of bankruptcy and is leaving the property as a leading casino resort in Atlantic City.

Glebocki also resigned as president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, the industry’s lobbying and relations group.

Ocean did not indicate who would be taking over the CEO’s duties.

“We are working through this transition and will provide updates as they become available,” the casino said.

Trust in Terry

Glebocki was appointed CEO of Ocean in December 2019 after serving on an interim basis for several months.

The Boardwalk casino formerly known as Revel (2012-2014) had been financially struggling since it reopened in June 2018 as Ocean.

Luxor Capital Group, a New York-based hedge fund, took control of Ocean in early 2019. Shortly after, Luxor installed a team of experienced Atlantic City casino executives and invested millions of dollars in capital improvements.

From bottom to top tier of AC casinos

Between February 2019 and February 2020, Ocean went from last among AC’s nine casinos to sixth in terms of land-based gambling revenue. By February 2021, Ocean was third in the market behind only Borgata and Hard Rock.

Through the first six months of 2021, Ocean reported $24.9 million in gross operating profits. Two years ago, the casino hotel posted $12.75 million in losses over the same period.

Ocean under new ownership?

Luxor is currently in the process of relinquishing some control of Ocean. Earlier this year, 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 Casino Resort

Luxor and Ilitch struck a deal that would give the latter up to 50% control of Ocean.

Last month, New Jersey gaming regulators approved a management agreement between the two parties.

The NJ Casino Control Commission will vote on Ilitich’s interim casino authorization during Wednesday’s public meeting.

AP Photo/Wayne Parry

Game Changer: Farewell William Hill, Say Hello To Rebranded Caesars NJ Sportsbook App

The Caesars Sportsbook national rebranding campaign is underway this week as William Hill NJ sports betting app makes Garden State exit.

William Hill is in the process of fading out of the NJ sports betting spotlight as it is being rebranded as Caesars Sportsbook.

Call it the culmination of Caesars Entertainment completing the purchase of William Hill and merging the two names into a new product.  The company sent out a press release early Monday morning to announce a national marketing campaign.

And it even includes a TV spot featuring actor J.B. Smoove from the HBO hit comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Building up the new Caesars Sportsbook

Keep in mind, Caesars Sportsbook is far from a new player to the NJ sports betting game. It’s actually been available to Garden State bettors since September 2018.

The new mobile experience offers “unprecedented promotions, new product features, along with integration with Caesars Rewards, the largest customer loyalty program in the industry.”

Basically, it’s a multi-million dollar comprehensive marketing campaign. And it’s being rolled out just in time for the NFL betting season.

According to the release, this is the culmination of a drive to “create a best-in-class sports betting experience befitting the nation’s largest gaming operator.”

Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, said the company is excited about launching the new comprehensive marketing campaign.

“The rebranded and upgraded offerings for our Caesars Sportsbook will provide customized offers, flexible limits, a wide range of betting lines, and an intuitive user experience,” said Reeg. “Caesars Sportsbook also brings players into an empire of play where, win or lose, every wager gives them more through our award-winning Caesars Rewards.”

What happens to William Hill NJ sportsbook?

Well, at some point this week, NJ bettors will be sent directly to the new Caesars Sportsbook.

Customers who tried accessing the William Hill Sportsbook via web browser on Monday morning found this Caesars welcome message:

Android users noticed the Caesars branding on the William Hill app. However, iOS users still noticed the latter name when opening the app.

More about the Caesars Sportsbook app features

So what do we know about the new Caesars Sportsbook?

The platform operates on Liberty, which is Caesars Entertainment’s owned and integrated tech stack. The bigger deal, however, is how every wager will earn users Caesars Rewards.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s a winning or losing ticket.

Those tier and reward credits can be redeemed online or in-person at Harrah’s Resort, Caesars, or Tropicana in Atlantic City.  They also are good for any of the 50 Caesars Entertainment destinations, across 16 states, Las Vegas Strip included.

The potential perks include:

  • Free play
  • Dining
  • Getaways
  • Specially curated sports and entertainment experiences

Caesars eying bigger slice of sports betting pie

When it comes to NJ sports betting, FanDuelDraftKings, and BetMGM are the market leaders. If we’re talking big four, add the former William Hill to the list.

The rebranding now gives Caesars a much larger slice of the NJ sports betting revenue. New Jersey, not Nevada, is the top mobile sports wagering market in the nation.

Just look at the year-to-date numbers through June. Total handle, which includes retail, sits at $4.9 billion and counting.

Sports wagering revenue comes in at $368.3 million.

In a mature market like New Jersey, building a strong customer base is key. Don’t be surprised if several more NJ sports betting apps launch sometime during the 2021 NFL season.

The Caesars team is more focused on offering NJ bettors the best user experience possible.

Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Digital, says: “We want to treat every Caesars Sportsbook player like a Caesar.”

“We understand that we need to be nimble, we need to give bettors what they want in terms of depth of odds and breadth of sports, and we need to make our app easy and fun to navigate,” said Hession

What about the NJ retail sportsbooks

Anyone who frequents Garden State retail sportsbook locations is well aware the William Hill name is a prominent one.

Out of the 12 retail books around the Garden State, five of them have the William Hill branding.

This will of course be changing.

Besides the three AC casinos, there are William Hill sportsbooks at Monmouth Park and Ocean Casino Resort.

According to the press release, the former will be rebranded as a Caesars Sportsbook.

As far as Ocean Casino goes, the William Hill name is staying for now. But don’t expect it to last.

Hard Rock, Ocean Rising To Top Of Atlantic City Casino Market As Others Tread Water

Hard Rock and Ocean are gobbling up Atlantic City casino market share, a multi-year trend that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic upended the Atlantic City casino industry, yet Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Casino Resort are thriving amidst the chaos.

Atlantic City’s two newest casinos (now approaching their respective third anniversaries) are staking out positions atop the market, trailing only the untouchable Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

And while competition is good, the success of Hard Rock and Ocean appears to be coming at the expense of the other seven Atlantic City casinos. As the two properties make their market ascension, brick-and-mortar gambling revenues across the city are not keeping pace.

Is there enough Atlantic City casino revenue for nine?

When Hard Rock and Ocean opened in June 2018, some industry experts and analysts wondered if Atlantic City could handle additional casinos.

Would the two Boardwalk properties help invigorate a recovering gambling market that had recently been cut in half by competition? Or would they simply draw customers away from existing casinos and exacerbate the market’s woes?

Well, even before COVID-19 shut down the entire city last March, the answer started to take shape. And, based on gambling revenue in the months following last year’s industry shutdown, the conclusion is now pretty clear.

Hard Rock and Ocean have steadily increased their market share of casino win (table game and slot machine revenue) since 2018 while the rest of Atlantic City casinos have all seen declines.

Atlantic City casino market similar to Boardwalk pizza

Think of the Atlantic City market like a pizza pie and each slice represents an Atlantic City casino. However, unlike a traditional Jersey Shore pie, the slices of the AC casino market are not equal; some eat better than others at this table.

In a healthy market, the total size of the pie should increase proportionately when new casino operators join the table.

Hard Rock and Ocean are both large casino hotels. And, considering the slow but steady upward trajectory of the industry prior to their openings, annual market growth between 8% and 12.5% is not unrealistic.

Again, not everyone will get equal slices and everyone already at the table sacrifices a sliver or two. But, the whole pie gets bigger to ensure everyone eats well enough to stay healthy.

Unfortunately, that has not really been the case in Atlantic City.

Before Hard Rock and Ocean, Atlantic City was…

Casino win in Atlantic City had been growing by an average of 3.2% annually between 2013 and 2017. That figure excludes the five properties that closed in that span.

In 2017, casino win reported by AC’s seven properties was $2.4 billion.
Take a look at this pie graph for a breakdown:

With Hard Rock and Ocean, AC became…

In 2018, casino win increased 4% to $2.51 billion, thanks to the dual openings of Hard Rock and Ocean halfway through the year.

NJ sports betting was also legalized in 2018, adding another reason for people to gamble in AC.

The following year, casino win reported by the nine properties was $2.69 billion, a year-over-year increase of 7%.

Hard Rock increased its market share from 6.4% to 12.1%, while Ocean went from 3.6% to 8%.

Here’s a pie graph of 2019 casino win:

Forget all that because COVID changed everything

But 2020 was a whole different story.

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy ordered AC casinos to close on March 16. The governor permitted the gambling parlors to reopen just before the Fourth of July. Borgata elected to stay closed until July 26.

Unsurprisingly, casino win dipped to $1.5 billion last year. But, Hard Rock and Ocean significantly increased their market share.

By year’s end, Hard Rock controlled just under 15% of the Atlantic City market. Ocean increased its piece of the gambling pie to 12%. Meanwhile, the other casinos gave up a percentage of market share.

Borgata, the market’s highest-performing casino, relinquished 4.1% from 2019 to 2020.

Below is the 2020 pie graph:

Atlantic City casino pie slices getting smaller for most

Since the AC casinos reopened last summer, the trend of Hard Rock and Ocean feasting on the slices of existing market share has continued.

Beginning in August 2020 (the first full month all nine casinos were reopened at reduced capacities) through April 2021, Hard Rock increased its market share to 16.8% and Ocean went up to 12.6%.

Borgata regained a small percentage, creeping back up to 23.1%.
Here is a breakdown of the casino win as a percentage of the AC market since August:

Reservations are strongly encouraged for a seat

Table game and slot machine revenue is the main course for Atlantic City casinos. Sure, online gambling and sports betting are beneficial, however, neither produces revenue that belongs entirely to AC casino operators.

AC casinos need people in their buildings and gambling on their casino floors.

Several of the casinos have announced capital improvement plans that include hotel room renovations, new dining outlets, as well as additional slots and table games.

Hard Rock has said it will spend a minimum of $20 million. Ocean, which recently added two new high-limit areas known as The Cove and The Loft, is reinvesting $15 million.

Remember, both of these properties received extensive makeovers prior to reopening in 2018.

At the same time, others like Caesars Entertainment, for example, are not sitting idle. The parent company of CaesarsHarrah’s Resort, and Tropicana unveiled details to its $400 million maser plan.

And these new additions are either open or getting ready to debut. However, will these upgrades be enough to earn a bigger slice of the pie?

Given all the industry endured in 2020 and at the start of 2021, the Atlantic City casino market is as healthy as can be expected. But, if the current trends continue well into a post-pandemic world, there may be fewer seats available at the Atlantic City table.

The big boys will eat. Who will go hungry?

AP Photo/Wayne Parry

Time For A Standing Ovation: Ocean Casino Resort Announces Return Of Live Entertainment

Ocean Casino Resort is bringing back live entertainment at Ovation Hall again, starting with Loverboy and Brian McKnight July 4th weekend.

With New Jersey is easing up on its COVID-19 restrictions, it was only going to be a matter of time before Atlantic City casinos would start making additional announcements.

Sure enough, Ocean Casino Resort sent out a press release earlier today announcing some pretty big news: Live entertainment is returning to Ovation Hall.

As far as who will be performing, here are some of the names:

  • Brian McKnight, July 3
  • Summer of Love, various dates starting July 9
  • Morris Day & The Time, Aug. 14
  • Jeff Dunham, Aug. 21
  • Melissa Etheridge, Sep. 4
  • Alice Cooper, Sept. 17

“We are elated to bring back such an acclaimed group of headlining performers to Ovation Hall for our customers to enjoy,” said Terry Glebocki, Chief Executive Officer for Ocean Casino Resort. “Entertainment is one of Ocean’s core foundations, and as restrictions ease and we are able to open up more of our property, the return of live music and comedy serves to bolster our premier resort experience.”

Live concerts big change for Ocean

Ovation Hall has a seating capacity of over 5,000 people. Unfortunately, as a result of the global pandemic, the venue has been rather quiet and empty.

Remember, all nine AC casinos were closed for 100-plus days in 2020. And when they did reopen prior to the Fourth of July weekend, entertainment venues remained closed.

And up until now, nothing much changed. Sure there have been performers at restaurants and lounges, but it’s not the same.

Ovation Hall will continue hosting the Pro Fighters League regular season. Ocean Casino Resort is serving as the bubble (like Walt Disney World did for the NBA)

The next event will take place on June 10. However, fans have not been permitted to attend the fights.

Following CDC Guidelines

Like has been the case with the casino floor and restaurants, Ocean will continue following guidelines set by local health officials, the CDC, and state authorities.

This includes:

  • Mask requirements
  • Thermal screening
  • Hand sanitizing stations
  • Physical distancing

The Ocean team is encouraging advanced ticket reservations to “help comply with capacity restrictions and to maximize contactless ticket scanning.”

Other Atlantic City entertainment news

While Ocean’s announcement is considered pretty big news, they are not the first AC property to welcome back live entertainment. Hard Rock Atlantic City hosted a holiday show inside of the Sound Waves venue.

The property is now back in the comedy show business. Comedian Andrew Santino is next up with two shows on May 30.

However, bigger names are coming. Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys is performing on Aug. 6. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Borgata has no plans of spending another summer waiting as tickets are available for:

  • Jim Breuer, July 16
  • Mandy Moore, July 18
  • Dave Attell & Jeff Ross, July 31
  • John Legend, Aug. 21

Call this the start of what is shaping up to be a very busy summer in Atlantic City.

AP Photo/Wayne Parry 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard Rock Atlantic City Making $20 Million In Capital Improvements

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is joining the Atlantic City reinvestment parade pledging to spend a minimum of $20 million on capital improvements.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is joining the Atlantic City reinvestment parade, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt business for the seaside resort’s nine gambling parlors.

On Monday, Hard Rock said it will spend a minimum of $20 million on capital improvements. Planned projects include suite renovations, a Boardwalk Starbucks, additional slots and table games, a new dining outlet, and updated beachfront amenities.

“The commitment of these capital dollars from our ownership proves their devotion to enhancing our guest experience, along with the revitalization of Atlantic City and our property which opened after a $500 million renovation less than three years ago,” said Joe Lupo, president of Hard Rock Atlantic City.

Hard Rock details $20 million spending plan

According to a news release, the majority of Hard Rock’s investment will go towards renovating 66 Celebrity and 25 Roxy suites. Additionally, all standard hotel rooms are getting new flatscreen TV monitors and LED lighting.

The new Starbucks is located with Boardwalk access adjacent to the Hard Rock Cafe. The Starbucks will open in late May.

Details for a new dining concept will be announced soon. Whatever surprise is in store will be opening this summer, the casino said.

In concert with this year’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment project in Atlantic City, Hard Rock will be expanding its Beach Bar. More than 1,000 beach chairs and restrooms will be added to the popular summer spot.

New games will be coming to the Asian and High Limit areas, and the main casino floor.

Finally, Hard Rock will be making programming and sound enhancements to both Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena and Sound Waves. Other improvements will be made to the resort’s meeting/convention spaces and the indoor pool.

Atlantic City casino reinvestment is all the rage in 2021

The multi-million dollar pledge by Hard Rock is the latest in a string of reinvestment announcements at Atlantic City casinos.

The spending spree by AC casinos is a positive sign by an industry still reeling from one of the worst financial years in history. Collectively, AC casino industry profits were down more than 80% in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the ensuing business constraints.

Despite that, AC casino operators are spending big in 2021 and beyond.
Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of three Atlantic City properties, plans to invest $400 million by 2023, including $170 million this year.

Bally’s Atlantic City has earmarked $90 million for upgrades over the next five years.

Ocean Casino Resort just announced a $15 million investment and a new ownership partner. Resorts Casino Hotel and Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa are both close to debuting new dining concepts this spring.

Hard Rock AC will continue to ‘evolve and improve’

Since AC’s casinos reopened last summer, Hard Rock has been a standout performer in the market.

Hard Rock closed out 2020 with a strong fourth quarter. It reported a market-leading 39% increase in year-over-year gross operating profits.

Hard Rock has also posted the largest year-over-year casino win increase in the Atlantic City market for the past five consecutive months.

The casino also took care of its out-of-work employees in 2020. Hard Rock covered health insurance benefits and gave out grocery store gift cards to team members.

When people eventually returned to work, Hard Rock gave out over $1 million in employee bonuses and salary increases.

“Our growth over the past year during unprecedented circumstances speaks to guests’ trust in our property and enjoyment of their experiences, which we will continue to evolve and improve,” Lupo said.

AP Photo/Wayne Parry

Ocean Casino Resort Announces $15 Million Reinvestment In Atlantic City, Employees

Ocean Casino Resort announced upgrades that will include the casino floor and player’s lounges, as well as culinary hospitality experiences.

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