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Tropicana still in the mix for Major League Baseball stadium

Updated November 3, 2022 - 4:57 pm

A Major League Baseball stadium project for the Oakland Athletics at the Tropicana Las Vegas is still “very much in the cards” for the new owner of the Strip hotel-casino.

Lee Fenton, CEO of Bally’s Corp., said the company, which closed on its $308 million acquisition of the 65-year-old, 1,467-room resort on Sept. 26, is continuing talks with the team.

Fenton made his remarks Thursday during the Providence, Rhode Island-based company’s third-quarter earnings call with investors.

“Obviously, they (the A’s) have got to make some decisions and some choices, but we’ve been in discussions and discussions with other partners as well,” Fenton said in response to a question on whether Bally’s was still pursuing placing a baseball stadium on Tropicana’s 35-acre site.

While Bally’s is focusing most of its attention on developing a $1.7 billion resort at the former Chicago Tribune site on the Chicago River, Fenton said the Tropicana is still in the mix for a stadium.

“We’re very much looking at the long-term plan for the Tropicana property, and that includes whether or not we could put a diamond in the middle,” he said.

Fenton’s comments echo statements made in April by Peter Carlino, chairman, president and CEO of Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust affiliated with Penn, who said in April that the A’s have “a very, very strong interest” in the Tropicana.

The prospect of the A’s moving from Oakland to Las Vegas grew over the weekend when MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he is growing pessimistic about the likelihood that the A’s can salvage a deal for a 35,000-seat, $1 billion stadium at Oakland’s Howard Terminal.

The A’s reportedly are floating prospective stadium deals with Bally’s and billionaire Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island and Circus Circus, to use the Las Vegas Festival Grounds at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue as a potential stadium site.

Related: What happens to Aviators, Las Vegas Ballpark if A’s move to Las Vegas?

The A’s in recent weeks have been silent on the status of its Las Vegas stadium negotiations.

Fenton said Bally’s focus now is on getting a temporary casino built in Chicago in advance of the new resort.

Rapidly growing Bally’s, which is unaffiliated with the Bally’s resort property about a mile north of the Tropicana, reported net income of $593,000, 1 cent a share, on revenue of $578.2 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

A year ago, the company reported a net loss of $14.7 million, 30 cents a share, on revenue of $314.8 million.

Bally’s shares, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed down 86 cents, 4.12 percent, to $20.03 a share in light trading Thursday.

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

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