Bruce Deifik, the former owner of the Ocean Resort Casino and who played a major part in Atlantic City’s recent resurgence, was killed in a car crash Sunday in Denver. Deifik was 64-years old.
The medical examiner is still investigating what may have happened, but reports are that the real estate developer was driving home from a Colorado Rockies baseball game when he was involved in a “single-car, low-speed auto crash.”
The Denver Police Department before naming who the victim was, said that there was a traffic fatality in which a vehicle crossed two lanes of traffic before colliding with a light pole. Police say that the driver – presumed at this point to be Deifik – may have had a sudden “medical condition,” causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
Deifik’s Investment Was Welcomed
Bruce Deifik helped reverse one of the more embarrassing parts of Atlantic City’s recent history. In April 2012, the gleaming, glass-clad Revel casino opened as an intended competitor to the Borgata at a price tag of $2.4 billion. It closed in September 2014. Didn’t even last two and a half years.
Drama ensued during the bidding process for the property until Polo North Country Club’s Glen Straub bought it for $82 million in April 2015. Three years after it opened, Revel was sold for less than four percent of what it cost to build. He had all sorts of plans for the property, even renaming it TEN, but he never actually did anything. Deifik his company, AC Ocean Walk, purchased Revel/TEN from Straub in January 2018 for $229 million.
Deifik felt like a breath of fresh air. He was of course an investor, but rather than being some curmudgeon, only interested in flipping it for more money, or a simply wacko, Deifik said from the outset his goal was to reopen the casino and help revitalize Atlantic City. He renamed it Ocean Resort Casino
In May of last year, he personally announced the June 28th grand opening date to Ocean’s employees, saying that he was “extremely grateful to each of you.”
And though Ocean opened to great fanfare and Deifik was the head cheerleader, it, like Revel, immediately had financial problems. According to The Press of Atlantic City, “In February, state gaming regulators revealed Ocean had lost nearly $23 million in the final months of 2018 and that the property was not in compliance with strict financial conditions.”
In January, Luxor Capital Group (not related to the Las Vegas casino), which owned a sizeable stake in Ocean, acquired a controlling share of the property via a $70 million investment.
“We are saddened to learn that Bruce Deifik, former owner of Ocean Resort Casino, has passed away,” said Diane Spiers, a spokeswoman for Ocean, in a statement to The Press of Atlantic City. “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.”
Ocean also announced on Wednesday that it is making a slight tweak to its name, now going by Ocean Casino Resort to emphasize the gambling part of its business.