Bruce Deifik, the former Ocean Resort Casino owner who gambled on one of Atlantic City’s most troubled properties, died Sunday in Colorado.
Deifik was driving home Sunday from a Colorado Rockies baseball game in his hometown of Denver when he died in a car crash, his attorney Paul O’Gara said. The Denver Police Department confirmed a traffic fatality Sunday in which a motorist had an “apparent medical condition” and swerved over two lanes of traffic before crashing into a light pole.
Deifik, 64, was the face of Ocean Resort, where he would often be seen on the casino floor interacting with guests and employees.
His likeness was plastered on promotional gaming dollars, known as “Bruce’s Bucks,” during the initial days of the casino’s opening.
He and his wife, Nancy, maintained a temporary residence in a top-floor suite; the family had no comment Monday.
Deifik’s effort at resurrecting the former Revel Casino was part of the city rebirth narrative last year, as Ocean and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino raced to open in the summer of 2018. But while popular, the property failed to generate enough profits to satisfy investors.
Allegations of sexual harassment and mounting debt led to his exit as investors took control of the property in mid-January.
“We are saddened to learn that Bruce Deifik, former owner of Ocean Casino Resort, has passed away,” said Diane Spiers, a spokeswoman for the property, via email 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.”
Deifik and his company AC Ocean Walk LLC paid $229 million for Ocean Resort in January 2018, purchasing the former Revel Casino Hotel from Florida-based real estate developer Glenn Straub.
Under Deifik’s control, the property, which had been closed since 2014 after only two years of operation, reopened on June 27 along with Hard Rock.