Updated January 29, 2024 - 7:15 pm
Tropicana Las Vegas will close its doors April 2, the day before its 67th birthday, so preparations can begin to demolish the storied casino-resort and make way for the Oakland Athletics’ planned Las Vegas ballpark.
Bally’s Corp., which owns the Tropicana, will cease operations at the Tropicana and relocate all bookings beyond April 2, the company announced Monday in a news release. The 700 employees of the Rat Pack-era property were alerted to the planned closure Monday.
The demolition process is expected to take between nine months and a year, according to Bally’s. That includes obtaining permits, removing furniture, fixtures and equipment from the resort, conducting any needed remediation, and the demolition itself.
Bally’s Corp. President George Papanier called the closure and the pending addition of the A’s planned stadium and future resort “the next chapter” for the company.
”This is an incredible accomplishment for us as we continue to expand our global footprint and strengthen our sports portfolio, which already includes our digital sportsbook, Bally Bet, and numerous marketing partnerships with professional teams, and leagues,” Papanier said in a statement. “We thank our stakeholders, partners, the city of Las Vegas, Clark County, and the state of Nevada for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. owns the 35-acre Tropicana site at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and the hotel’s namesake Tropicana Avenue. Bally’s entered a 50-year ground lease with GLPI for the site in 2021 for $10.5 million annually.
GLPI is contributing 9 acres of the site for the A’s $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat ballpark. Plans call for construction to begin in April 2025 and be completed in time for the 2028 season.
Bally’s plans to construct a resort on the rest of the site. Those plans are scheduled to ramp up once the A’s ballpark plans are finalized. A’s owner John Fisher said last week that artist renderings depicting the team’s ballpark and Bally’s resort were still being designed.
The Tropicana Las Vegas opened on April 3, 1957. With a construction cost of $15 million, it was the most expensive casino on the Las Vegas Strip when it opened.
MLB owners unanimously approved the A’s Las Vegas relocation in November.
The A’s are finalizing multiple agreements with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the public entity that will oversee the construction and operation of the ballpark. Those agreements must be completed and approved by the stadium authority before $380 million in public funding earmarked last summer by Senate Bill 1 can be made available.
The A’s will provide the remaining $1 billion-plus on the project’s budget. Fisher said that share will be paid out of equity from his family and that he also was interested in potentially raising capital by bringing in local investors.
Employee assistance planned
Bally’s plans to assist its employees, including some who have worked at the casino-resort for decades, offering severance packages to eligible employees and opportunities within other Bally’s properties.
Culinary Local 226 leaders said Monday that they were unaware of the exact closure date before the announcement, but they said that Bally’s had been upfront with its intentions to close.
“Construction schedules change all the time,” said union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge.
The union reached a tentative five-year agreement with Tropicana on Dec. 13. Pappageorge said that during those negotiations, the union focused on strong severance benefits in anticipation of the resort’s closure.
The 500 union members at the Tropicana will receive $2,000 in severance for every year of service. For some of the most senior employees, that payout can reach $60,000. Employees have to work at the resort until they are officially laid off to receive the severance, which also includes six months of health care and pension benefits.
Union members also will have the option of recall rights, receiving a severance of up to $15,000 and being among the employees who return to the company’s redeveloped resort project when it opens along the ballpark in several years.
Bally’s plans to open a transition resource center to provide additional resources for employees, including job placement and unemployment assistance.
“Our leadership and HR teams are working closely with property leadership to assist all team members through this transition period,” Papanier said in a memo to employees.