One interesting bit of news missed the eyes of many during the third-quarter earnings call for Bally’s Corp. last week. The company said it is open to selling its lease for Tropicana Las Vegas.
Bally’s currently owns the lease to operate the casino on the southeast corner of Tropicana Ave. and Las Vegas Blvd. Nine and a half acres of this land could become the home of the Oakland A’s should Major League Baseball (MLB) permit the team to relocate to Las Vegas.
The MLB vote could happen in the coming weeks. If the move is approved, the A’s can move forward with their plan to build a Vegas Strip baseball stadium.
Bally’s doesn’t have plans for the Tropicana at this time. During the opening statement of Bally’s Q3 earnings call, George Papanier, president of Bally’s Corp. said:
“We will hold off on (the) announcement of any reinvestment plans until after the outcome is known. But we are excited about the unique value-enhancing development project and the strategic opportunities that it presents for our company.”
Bally’s has been holding its cards close to its vest regarding the future of the iconic Las Vegas casino.
Bally’s is open to selling Tropicana
During the earnings call, Director, Equity Research Analyst at Barclays, Brandt Montour asked:
“Is there a world in which you would sell that (Tropicana) lease to create liquidity to fund the other projects, buy back debt, or buy back equity?”
Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer, Marcus Glover quickly replied saying:
“Yes, I guess the best way to answer that is I think for the right price, we’d probably unload anything.”
Glover elaborated saying: “But if you think about the nature of that transaction, we traded into that deal with a couple of our properties and got a lease that is very attractive and it’s traded into a value that is enormous for us right now.
And so, whether we develop that ourselves or whether someone presents us an offer that at a minimum valued at $9 million an acre, we’d absolutely entertain that. We have no plans at this moment, but if someone approached us, we’d absolutely entertain divesting of it.”
For clarity, Bally’s does not plan to sell the Tropicana lease at this time. However, the company is willing to listen to offers.
Future of Tropicana Las Vegas is in question
Bally’s purchased the Tropicana in 2021 for just under $150 million in cash. The deal was finalized in 2022.
Bally’s has a 50-year lease to operate the Tropicana or a future casino on this land.
The A’s recently offered a rough timeline update for moving to Las Vegas. This will eventually put Bally’s on the clock to announce its plans for the future of the Tropicana.
The A’s are expecting approval by MLB to move to Las Vegas this month. If this happens as expected the team will firm up plans to build a baseball stadium on part of the land currently occupied by the Tropicana.
This process won’t happen quickly. The A’s have to give Bally’s a one-year notice before beginning construction on the Vegas Strip baseball stadium. This is expected to come as soon as this year and as late as early 2024.
At this time Bally’s will have to come up with a plan for the future of the Tropicana.
The current scuttlebutt is that Bally’s will implode Tropicana and build a new hotel and casino on the land. The implosion would likely take place before the A’s begin construction in late 2024 or more likely early 2025.
Once the A’s give notice, Bally’s could either speed up plans to reimagine the classic Las Vegas casino or put the lease on the market.
There’s no telling which casino operator might be interested in purchasing Bally’s leasing on this prime piece of real estate in Las Vegas. Adding an MLB stadium and team could drastically increase the value of the lease that Bally’s Corp. purchased for $150 million just over a year ago.
This is another interesting twist on the long and winding saga of the A’s potentially moving to Las Vegas.