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Tropicana closure stays on target; Gaming Control Board to monitor

Nevada Gaming Control Board agents will be onsite at the Tropicana April 2 when the storied Strip resort closes its doors as it makes way for construction of a baseball stadium for the relocation of the Oakland Athletics.

Control Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick said in an emailed message Tuesday that Bally’s Corp., the licensee that operates the resort that would turn 67 years old the day after the closure, is required to submit a confidential closure plan to the board. Hendrick could not disclose whether the plan had been filed.

Bally’s executives on Tuesday provided few new details about the Trop shutdown during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call with investors.

“In Las Vegas, the formal closure of the Tropicana on April 2 will pave the way for the demolition of the casino and hotel over the coming months with the support of our financing partner, GLPI,” Bally’s CEO Robeson Reeves told analysts.

GLPI is Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., the real estate investment trust that owns the land beneath the Tropicana. That company has its own earnings call scheduled for Feb. 28.

“Following demolition, site prep and approval of formal plans, construction of the Las Vegas A’s stadium will likely begin sometime thereafter,” Reeves said. “We continue to assess our available options for the very valuable development lands next to the stadium.”

Executives indicated they have not completed their analysis of how a new resort will sit in proximity to the planned 33,000-seat ballpark — a frustration for MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle, whose MGM Grand is across the street from the Trop site. MGM is attempting to determine what kinds of modifications should be done with its resort to be compatible with the stadium when it opens.

What is known is that the Tropicana’s 744 employees have been informed of pending layoffs through the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Bally’s earlier said that some of its employees would receive buyouts while others would be offered jobs at other Bally’s properties, which include 16 casinos across 10 states, including Bally’s Lake Tahoe in Northern Nevada.

Executives didn’t detail the demolition process or costs, saying they’re still working with contractors and that in addition to the Tropicana site, they’re in the midst of developing Chicago’s first-ever casino. Bally’s will operate a temporary casino site in the Windy City before building a $1.7 billion permanent casino with 500 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat theater and space for 3,400 slot machines and 170 table games in a resort employing 3,000 people.

The company also is in the running for a casino license in downstate New York and on March 1 will introduce internet gambling in Rhode Island, the seventh U.S. state to do so.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board requires companies that close their doors permanently or temporarily to file a detailed closure plan.

The closure would involve the board’s Audit, Tax and License and Enforcement divisions, according to a March 2020 memorandum addressing casino closures when COVID-19 resulted in a round of shutdowns.

Officials must inventory casino chips, tokens, and cash in machines, count rooms, cages, kiosks, fill cabinets and vaults. Control Board agents may be present to observe some or all procedures and the board will coordinate agent involvement with licensees, if agent observation is to occur.

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

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