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Bally’s losing employees at Tropicana as it awaits A’s next move on stadium

Bally’s Corp. executives see short-term pain, but long-term gain with its Tropicana Las Vegas-Oakland A’s stadium project — and some of that pain involves employees leaving the hotel because of future uncertainties.

Executives said they don’t expect to have any development announcements until after Major League Baseball and the A’s confirm the team’s relocation to Las Vegas, expected to be considered later this month.

Representatives of the A’s told the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last week that it doesn’t expect to begin construction on a 33,000-seat stadium on 35 acres of Tropicana land until April 2025.

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., the real estate investment trust that owns the land beneath the Tropicana, said in a Friday earnings call that it won’t determine whether it would invest more in the Tropicana project until the A’s disclose their plans.

Bally’s is in the same boat.

“(Our cash flow) has declined as bookings are harder to manage because we don’t know when it’s going to close and also, frankly, our employees are starting to leave as there are new properties in the area and they don’t know when we’re going to redevelop,” Bally’s Director Soo Kim told investors in Wednesday’s third-quarter earnings call.

The company didn’t say how many employees have left the company or discuss any plans to replace them.

Station Casinos’ Durango project and the north Strip Fontainebleau are scheduled to open in the next two months.

“We are highly anticipating next steps in terms of our Oakland A’s relocation plans to our Las Vegas Tropicana site,” Bally’s President George Papanier said during the call.

“MLB’s vote is scheduled for November,” he said. “The strategic opportunities this development presents for our company are highly compelling and we’re excited for the value that this proposition has created for us. Remember, we bought the Trop for $150 million in cash with a 50-year lease. Now, we have the A’s investing $1.5 billion, including $380 million of public funds in this land, which although we have some short-term pain, this is an extremely valuable asset.”

While Bally’s executives see the Tropicana as a lucrative investment, it’s not the company’s top priority — Chicago is. The company has opened a temporary casino at the Medina Temple Building and is expected to invest $1.6 billion by 2026 to build a 500-room integrated resort at a site formerly occupied by the Chicago Tribune.

In addition to the Chicago project, Bally’s will introduce Internet gambling in Rhode Island in March. The company also is among several contenders for one of three casino licenses in downstate New York. Executives say they like their chances in New York because local elected officials support its bid at Ferry Point in the Bronx.

Bally’s also recently introduced its brand in Europe and is growing its opportunities in land-based casinos, iGaming and in sports wagering in several states.

“Obviously, we have three large exciting enterprises and we need to make sure we balance all of them,” Kim said. “Our highest priority is Chicago, but the nice thing is we actually have a number to hit in terms of our spend.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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