Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino Sold Six Months After Opening

Posted on: January 10, 2019, 08:34h. 

Last updated on: January 10, 2019, 11:03h.

UPDATE: Ocean Resort Casino owner Bruce Deifik confirmed Thursday afternoon that the property has indeed been sold. He didn’t name the buyer. The sale is dependent on approval from state regulators, and the new owner will need to become licensed.

Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City is rumored to be up for sale by owner Bruce Deifik less than a year after the developer reopened the $2.4 billion Boardwalk property.

Atlantic City Ocean Resort Casino
Ocean Resort Casino owner Bruce Deifik is said to be shopping his Atlantic City resort. (Image: Press of Atlantic City)

The former Revel opened June 27, but has struggled to gain a significant market share in Atlantic City’s competitive gaming market. Ocean Resort and nearby Hard Rock, the former Trump Taj Mahal, opened on the same day.

In a lawsuit filed by Joseph Morrissey, the former nightclub manager of Ocean Resort, the plaintiff seeks $10 million in damages from Deifik for breach of contract, defamation and slander, unjust enrichment, and detrimental release. The legal action also contends that Deifik is trying to sell Ocean Resort.

Attorneys for Morrissey write that the lawsuit comes as “information and belief defendant Deifik is currently seeking to sell the casino to a new buyer and is seeking to eliminate anyone with ownership interest who could thwart the sale.”

Deifik, a Colorado-based real estate developer, purchased the former Revel for $229 million in January of 2018.

Missed Projections

The June openings of Ocean Resort and Hard Rock brought excitement to Atlantic City not seen in many years. The beach was packed with crowds as the Boardwalk properties reopened and returned the East Coast gambling capital to a nine-casino town.

For Ocean Resort, however, the excitement didn’t last long.

While Hard Rock has established considerable market share – the casino accounting for more than 10 percent of New Jersey’s land-based gaming industry in the latest financial filing – Ocean Resort is controlling just 5.6 percent.

Ocean Resort’s gross gambling brick-and-mortar revenue in November was $11.7 million. That figure places the casino dead last of the nine gaming floors. Borgata remains the top earner, posting a $55.78 million win in the latest month.

Deifik told state gaming regulators during his licensing hearing that he expected casino operations at Ocean Resort Casino to net $384.6 million in the first year.

Bills Unpaid, Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Morrissey isn’t the only one who’s taking legal action against Deifik. Two construction companies have filed lawsuits for unpaid work they claim to have performed at Ocean Resort.

JPMorgan perhaps stands to lose the most should Deifik fold on Ocean Resort. The financial institution has lent the developer $163 million to help reopen the casino property.

Morrissey claims Deifik promised him an annual salary of $200,000 for bringing top acts to the resort. He also argues that he is to be awarded 49 percent of any sale of the casino’s HQ2 nightclub.

Morrissey’s litigation additionally contends that Deifik committed alleged sexual misconduct against female employees.

“A female employee at HQ Club approached Mr. Morrissey informing him that she was uncomfortable with Defendant Deifik routinely asking her and her friends to come see the great view from his presidential suite. The female employee felt uncomfortable with the long and heavy hugs extended by the married Deifik,” the lawsuit reads.