Bruce Deifik, the former chairman of AC Ocean Walk LLC, opened the new Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City last June, seeking to breathe new life into the failed Revel Casino Hotel. — Courtesy: Aaron Houston
By Joshua Burd
Bruce Deifik, the Colorado developer who purchased and reopened the former Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, before having to give up the property earlier this year, died Sunday.
Published reports say Deifik, 64, was fatally injured in a car crash in Denver while driving home from a Colorado Rockies baseball game. His death comes less than a year after he reopened the failed Revel property, which had closed in 2014 after two bankruptcies, as the Ocean Resort Casino along the city’s iconic boardwalk.
“We are saddened to learn that Bruce Deifik, former owner of Ocean Casino Resort, has passed away,” Diane Spiers, a spokeswoman for the property, wrote in a statement to media outlets on Monday. “The Ocean family is grateful for Bruce having the vision to reopen this beautiful oceanfront property and employing over 3,000 members of our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
AC Ocean Walk, the investment group led by Deifik, struggled to gain market share and was reportedly forced to pump tens of millions of dollars into the 6.4 million-square-foot property. In January, Ocean Resort announced that he would give up his majority ownership and cede control to an existing shareholder, Luxor Capital Group, which is leading the $70 million capital infusion to further upgrade the property and shore up its finances.
According to The Press of Atlantic City, allegations of sexual assault and mounting debt also led to Deifik’s ouster.
The new investment will look to stabilize a casino hotel that has been troubled since its opening in 2012 as the highly touted Revel Casino Hotel. The high-end, $2.4 billion megaresort closed just two years later amid Atlantic City’s shrinking gaming market, mounting debt and an inability to connect with the city’s rank-and-file casino patrons.
Florida developer Glenn Straub acquired the shuttered resort in 2015, following its second bankruptcy. He then sold the property to AC Ocean Walk early last year for more than $200 million.
Deifik opened the new Ocean Resort Casino to great fanfare on June 28, the same day the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened its doors at the former Trump Taj Mahal. Since then, AC Ocean Walk has completed a major renovation, partnered with Hyatt and added new amenities such as a William Hill sports book and a new Topgolf full-swing golf simulator.