Rio Las Vegas Faces New Wave Of Sale Rumors — What About WSOP?

Rumors about the potential sale of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, aren’t new. But thanks to a few tweets from Vital Vegas, a fresh round of whispers was served up this week.

The popular Las Vegas news blog is claiming the property is on the market and still seeking a buyer.

For some background, Rio opened in 1990 and was sold to Harrah’s, which is now Caesars Entertainment, less than a decade later. Rio rumors have persisted over the years, dating back to the early 2000s.

Last year, the rumor of the Rio sale popped up again, but it came with a twist: The all-suite hotel and casino, located just off the Las Vegas Strip, would be purchased and imploded to make way for a Major League Baseball (MLB) stadium. That sale hasn’t happened but the rumor of a potential sale continues.

Does the Las Vegas pro sports craze mean MLB is coming?

Last year was big for professional sports in Las Vegas, and perhaps that’s why there is an onslaught of gossip about an MLB team.

The Vegas Golden Knights brought Las Vegas into the national sports scene. They had a notably fantastic inaugural season in the National Hockey League (NHL) and made it to the Stanley Cup.

The year 2018 also marked the first season of professional soccer and professional basketball in Las Vegas. The Lights Football Club played their first season for the United Soccer League at Cashman Field. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Aces played their first WNBA season since moving from San Antonio. The Aces play their home games at Mandalay Bay.

This year, the Las Vegas Aviators will begin their first season as the Oakland A’s AAA affiliate. The new team will play in a brand-new, 10,000-seat stadium appropriately named Las Vegas Ballpark in the Summerlin community.

Also this year, the Oakland Raiders will make their home in Las Vegas. The new stadium for the National Football League (NFL) team is under construction just off the Vegas Strip near Mandalay Bay.

While the talk about an MLB stadium continues, so do rumors about a National Basketball Association (NBA) team taking up roots in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts not only owns the Las Vegas Aces but it has multiple arenas in Las Vegas and multiple partnerships with the NBA.

Rumors still swirl about an MLB stadium but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Las Vegas got professional basketball first.

Changing deal for Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

If sold, the land could actually be used in multiple ways. With its existing bones, the hotel and casino wouldn’t necessarily have to be imploded. The property could continue to exist with a little freshening up. Or, it could be torn down and the land on the site could be used for an attraction or stadium.

Additionally, the sale price might have come down since last year. Previously, Caesars Entertainment was looking for a billion dollars for the Rio casino, hotel and land. Rumor is that Caesars’ Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), VICI Properties, could be a partner with a casino operator.

VICI would own the land while another company would own and operate what’s on the land. If this sounds familiar, it’s because VICI and Penn National Gaming (PNG) recently partnered to buy Greektown casino in Detroit … for a billion dollars.

PNG paid $300,000 for the casino while VICI paid $700,000 for the land. Could the sale of Rio be another deal for this team?

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World Series Of Poker could remain at Rio after a sale

The rumors about the Rio sale are continuing with another twist. The potential deal could have a contingency for the World Series of Poker (WSOP), which is hosted by the Rio every summer. If the casino remains intact, the WSOP could remain at the property for a number of years after a sale.

Much like the sale of the casino, the WSOP has been rumored to be leaving the Rio for years. There is a rumored move to the new convention center under construction, the Caesars Forum.

Participants enjoy the Rio location for the WSOP for a variety of reasons. The location just off the Vegas Strip means that parking is free. If the poker tournament moves to the Vegas Strip, that could be a month and a half of parking fees for some players.

The off-the-Strip location is also good for players that commute daily. There’s less traffic to and from the Rio for anyone staying at a hotel or house around Las Vegas. That said, the 10-15 minute walk or 3-minute rideshare makes the property convenient to poker players looking to have a fun time between poker events.

Marc Meltzer

About

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.