The end of an era is upon us. The Tropicana will be closing in just over two months.
On Monday, Tropicana General Manager Arik Knowles sent a memo to employees that the casino will be closing on April 2, 2024. The last night someone can stay at the Tropicana is April Fool’s Day. Rooms for the night start at $299 plus tax and fees.
The closure isn’t much of a surprise since the land has been earmarked to become the home of the Oakland A’s. The Major League Baseball (MLB) team should soon be announcing a firm stadium and relocation plan now that the casino has announced a closing date. In the Tropicana memo, Knowles says:
“Bally’s is moving forward with the next steps necessary to make the Tropicana Las Vegas site the brand-new home of the Athletics.”
Bally’s, the Tropicana’s owner, has not publicly commented on the closure of the Las Vegas casino that first opened in 1957. Knowles says Bally’s will “ begin its preparations to demolish the Tropicana Las Vegas and finalize its master plan” after the property is closed.
Coincidentally, or not, the Tropicana originally opened its doors on April 3, 1957. If the property stayed open for another day it could celebrate its 67th birthday.
In the memo, Knowles said George Papanier, Bally’s President, will make a second announcement about the closing. At this time, there’s no date on when or how Tropicana will be demolished.
Plans for A’s stadium are still murky
The last time the A’s discussed the Las Vegas baseball stadium, the plan was to build a retractable roof venue that occupies nine of the 35 acres of land where the Tropicana currently operates.
Bally’s is planning to build a new casino and hotel on some or all of the remaining land. However, during its last quarterly earnings call Bally’s said it was open to selling the Tropicana “for the right price.”
In November, the A’s received permission from Major League Baseball (MLB) to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas. The team, casino, and landowners have been relatively quiet about the move since this date.
The A’s are supposed to give the owners of the Tropicana and its land a one-year notice of when building on the stadium will begin. The most recent timeline has construction beginning in 2025. The stadium would be completed in time for the beginning of the 2028 MLB season.
According to a news story by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the A’s are considering playing in Sacramento, CA, Salt Lake City, UT, or Reno, NV after the team’s lease to play in Oakland ends at the end of the 2024 season. Playing at Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin, across from Red Rock Casino, is also an option.
Looking back at Tropicana Las Vegas
Tropicana opened in 1957 and will close in 2024. That’s a long life for a Vegas Strip casino. The oldest casino hotel on the Vegas Strip is still Flamingo, which originally opened in 1947.
Like many Las Vegas casinos that opened during the Rat Pack era, the Tropicana has a history of mob affiliation. The property opened with a Cuban theme that is still the motif inside the casino.
Coincidentally, one of the original owners, Ben Jaffe was part owner of the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. Fontainebleau Las Vegas opened its doors in Dec. after being stalled for more than a decade.
Flamingo was in numerous movies over the years, including “Viva Las Vegas” with Elvis Presley.
The property changed numerous times over the year. The 2000s have been particularly active with a handful of owners and plans for reinventing the classic Las Vegas casino.
Bally’s closed the deal to buy Tropicana in 2022. Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI) owns the real estate that the property sits on.
Looking to the future The plans to close and demolish Tropicana could bring a new Bally’s Las Vegas casino and hotel in the vision of the current owners along with the MLB stadium for the A’s.