- Colorado developer acquires closed Boardwalk casino
- Casino hotel could reopen in as little as six months
The sale of the shuttered Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City has been confirmed, and its new owners have plans to get doors open again by summer.
Colorado developer Bruce Deifik has purchased the gambling venue for $200 million, through his company AC Ocean Walk LLC, and plans to rebrand the property as the Ocean Resort Casino.
Straub agrees to sale of long-closed Revel casino
The glitzy Boardwalk venue cost $2.4 billion to build, but the ambitious development project was open to the public for just one year before bankruptcy forced it to close in 2014. Atlantic City’s casinos went through a period of real crisis, in part due to a failing economy, with a number of venues being forced out of business around that time.
Developer Glenn Straub picked up the stricken Revel resort for a knockdown rate of just $82 million. Since then, his investment has proved a costly one with millions poured into the building’s maintenance and upkeep – but no revenue ever taken. The doors of the Revel have never reopened, despite Straub’s frequent declarations that progress was being made.
Straub often insisted to reporters that the Revel was not up for sale – but the businessman has now conceded defeat. The sale will make him a cool $118 million on his original purchase price, but costs may have pushed any profit down to a minimal level. It is now Bruce Deifik’s turn to try his hand at getting the Revel up and running.
$175 million investment to reopen casino
Back in December, Moody’s Investor Service confirmed that it was brokering a purchase agreement between Straub and the Colorado developer AC Ocean Walk. The price of this deal, the agency said, would be $375 million: a $200 million outright sale with confirmation of $175 million in site investment. While the group’s announcement this week confirms the sale price, it does not give further details of any investment budget or planned spending.
It does announce that there will be significant work going on to get the casino ready for its relaunch, which could happen as early as this summer. “We are working to bring back some of the restaurants that were successful at the property and we have worked diligently to create some specialized new venues including a top Asian noodle bar and a high end players club,” says Deifik. “Our investment in this property will make certain there is something for everyone at the Ocean.”
Atlantic City gaming market recovering
Deifik feels the time is just right for entering the Atlantic City market, and is sure the problems which the venue faced in 2014 will not resurface any time soon.
“Atlantic City is coming back with a vengeance,” he explains. “The former Revel property opened at a time when Atlantic City was still in economic recovery and operationally it just did not cater to the customer base for this destination.”
The Revel resort is ready to serve its customers right away. It opened for just one year, so most of the furnishings and interiors are as good as new. It features almost 1,400 hotel rooms, 100 gaming tables and 2,000 slot machines, along with restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
“Given the extraordinary quality and investment made during its development, the new ‘Ocean’ will represent one of the finest hotel, casino properties in existence today,” its new owner enthused.
Sports betting at the Revel
Deifik may just be on to something. Atlantic City is diversifying its offerings, and building strong profits in the process. Online casinos and other gambling has recently been approved in state law, giving casinos exclusive access to a whole new market.
New Jersey is also about to take its case against PASPA, the national law preventing sports betting, to the Supreme Court. If it challenges successfully, New Jersey (and other states) could start to offer sports betting services at casinos and online.
The Revel will be ready if such legislation is approved. “With the groundwork for the legalization of sports betting, we foresee a great opportunity to bring a state of the art sports book to a city which caters to a large and diverse sports market,” said Deifik.
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