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Tropicana workers left baffled by confusing messages about property’s closure

Updated May 17, 2023 - 7:05 am

Employees of the Tropicana received mixed messages Tuesday about when the property may close as the Oakland Athletics’ Las Vegas ballpark plan continues to take shape.

An FAQ from Tropicana owner Bally’s Corp. released Monday told workers that if the A’s are successful in their pursuit of $395 million in public funds from the Legislature, the property would shutter in 18 to 24 months.

But in an “Updated FAQ” document shared Tuesday, the company softened much of its statements. It said the company intends to keep the property open “as long as practicable,” and that if there is a closure, employees will have other opportunities in the Bally’s portfolio.

A Bally’s Corp. spokesperson said the Monday FAQ “was issued prematurely and was inaccurate.”

“The FAQ issued today accurately conveys the current situation,” the spokesperson said in an email. “The plans regarding the recently announced agreement with the Oakland Athletics are in very preliminary stages, and our focus at this time is on continuing to operate the Tropicana. We will be prepared to support Tropicana employees if and when the need should arise.”

The A’s are looking to construct a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark on 9 acres of the 35-acre Tropicana site. Bally’s has plans to build a new hotel-casino on the site’s remaining 26 acres. On Tuesday, the company said it intends to develop a new resort bearing the Bally’s name on the remaining land. It said Tropicana Las Vegas employees will be given employment preference and maintain employee seniority, according to the updated FAQ.

Bally’s told workers a day prior that the Tropicana would close in 18 to 24 months if the A’s are successful in their pursuit of public funds from the Legislature, according to an FAQ list for employees shared with the Review-Journal.

Bally’s Corp. Chairman Soo Kim told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the company is still deciding if it would fully close the property or do so in a phased manner.

“I think the general thought process is to do the stadium first and to not be in a rush to develop the rest of the site,” Kim said. “But I think that is going to be dependent on lots of different factors.”

The Culinary union noted in a statement Tuesday that it has a “strong” union contract with Tropicana employees and that it expects Bally’s to ensure those workers’ rights are adhered to during the potential closing.

The Culinary and Bartenders unions have represented several hundred workers at the Tropicana ever since the property opened in 1957, Culinary union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said.

“Culinary Union will ensure workers and their jobs are protected and the contract is followed,” he said in a statement.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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