Atlantic City will welcome not one but two new casinos on the same day in June.
On Monday, Colorado developer Bruce Deifik’s AC Ocean Walk announced that it plans to open the Ocean Resort Casino – the formerly bankrupt Revel – on June 28. Defik’s company bought the shuttered $2.4b Revel in January for a mere $200m and has since committed $175m to ridding the property of its heady aroma of mothballs and defeat.
Ocean Resort Casino CEO Frank Leone said June 28 represented “the culmination of all our planning” and the company “cannot wait to reveal what we have been working on” for the property’s prospective guests. Leone added that June 28 would be “a special day for Atlantic City as it turns the page on a new chapter of revitalization.”
Special, perhaps, but it’s also something of a dick move, given that Hard Rock International announced last month that it was opening its Hard Rock Atlantic City – the former Trump Taj Mahal – on June 28. As such, Deifik’s firm could be said to be unnecessarily hogging some of HRI’s spotlight.
Just last week, HRI began hoisting its new venue’s signage into place, a series of eight-foot gold letters spelling out Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. HRI is set to meet with New Jersey gaming regulators on Wednesday regarding approval of its casino license. Deifik’s firm has yet to learn when it will have its own license hearing.
HRI hired its 3,000th Atlantic City employee last week and could fill as many as 500 more positions before the property opens. AC Ocean Walk says it will have created 3,200 full-time jobs by the time Ocean Resort Casino opens its doors.
The simultaneous launch of two new gaming venues will undoubtedly bring out a throng of looky-loos, but it remains to be seen whether these will be additional guests from outside the market or just a temporary transfer of affections from the other casinos’ usual foot traffic. With five casinos having closed since 2014, AC’s casino survivors have been enjoying the downsized roster of competitors and fears persist that two additional casino mouths to feed will dilute the profit pool.
Both of the new casino operators have inked prospective deals with technology providers to participate in New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market, although neither has offered hard info on when they expect to launch these online operations. HRI has a deal with Gaming Innovation Group, while AC Ocean Walk has partnered with GAN.