Revel looked like the white elephant of Atlantic City casinos when it closed in September 2014.
New Jersey’s fourth tallest structure had closed after just 17 months, leaving the future of the quirky casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, in question: Could the oddly constructed casino ever work? ?
“Revel is the most poorly designed building I have ever seen,” said Philadelphia and Atlantic City developer Bart Blatstein. “There are so many reasons why it failed. How can you have a casino on the boardwalk and not be able to get in from there?”
Revel was built with the casino on the sixth floor and the hotel lobby on the 11th floor. Blatstein owns the nearby Showboat and the Playground. He and many other investors passed up the opportunity to buy Revel.
After several tumultuous years for the property, Revel was sold to AC Ocean Walk for $200 million and renamed Ocean Resort Casino in January 2018.
Ocean Resort CEO Terry Glebocki, the only female CEO of an Atlantic City casino, has revamped the property. The vibe at Ocean has changed since it reopened in June 2018. It’s hipper and more family-friendly. There are casual eateries as well as a number of upscale eateries — like Amada, the Jersey Shore location of Philadelphia stalwart Jose Garces, and a classic steakhouse, American Cut.
More events are booked at the resort’s Ovations Hall and on the waterfront for the summer. It’s a contrast to Revel, who seemed oblivious to what might be best for guests.
For 23 years, Glebocki served as vice president of finance for some of Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino operations, before taking the same role at Revel in 2007, then becoming chief financial officer of Revel in 2013. remembers what it was like at Ocean Resort. Casino a few years ago.
“The property used to be deaf to most AC customers and we got over that,” Glebocki said. “We were voted #1 casino in AC (in 2019 by Atlantic City Press) for Best Rooms, Best Lineups and Best Player Clubs. It’s because of what we stand for, giving people a fair deal.”
Perhaps the most significant addition is the calm and soothing Exhale Spa + Bathhouse. “Exhale was recently voted the best spa in New Jersey by Spas of America,” Glebocki said. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our mixed Turkish-style public bath and Himalayan salt cave. It’s an oasis.”
Glebocki was hired as Ocean’s CFO in February 2019. She was then named interim CEO in August, succeeding the casino’s former acting CEO, Eric Matejevich, before Glebocki’s position became permanent. in December.
She is confident at the helm and is proud to be a pioneer woman in Atlantic City. “It’s important to have diversity in the workplace in any industry,” Glebocki said. “Men, women, young, old. Diversity gives a wide range of ideas and helps to solve difficult problems. It’s an exciting time for me and the company. I joined the team as a director financial and I have worked very hard to right the ship.”
The Lehigh University alum is planning changes for 2020. “We’re going to be improving and adding new gaming experiences for our guests,” Glebocki said. “We are planning a major investment in a new high-limit slots experience that will position Ocean as a premier gaming destination in Atlantic City. We are also in discussions with our business partners to provide even more amenities and services that will wow our customers.”
Expect other shows to be booked at Ovation Hall. There were 42 dates booked in 2019. Glebocki expects more than 60 events for 2020.
Glebocki hopes the nearby Orange Loop – an area of Atlantic City named after the orange streets in the board game “Monopoly” which is now being redeveloped with clubs, shops and restaurants – will add traffic to Ocean.
“The Orange Loop has attracted a younger population to the area,” Glebocki said. “Any development, big or small, is good for our area. Atlantic City, a beachfront community, offers many opportunities for new development.”
And the CEO said Ocean found a way to accommodate its unconventional architecture. “Our new bank of elevators provides direct access from the hotel level to the casino level. Two new elevators now take guests from the hotel lobby to the casino floor. Previously, guests had to take an escalator or an elevator that was not near the hotel tower.”
Ocean Resort, Glebocki believes, is making progress in a competitive market that may be turning the page.