Confirmed: Tropicana Set to Close for Demolition

It’s been widely reported Tropicana’s “future is in limbo,” but our sources say that’s about to change. Evidence suggests Tropicana Las Vegas will close on April 2, 2024, and we’ve heard this from several individuals familiar with the situation. Some are third parties operating in the resort who are closing up shop in anticipation of the closure, the timeline already having been communicated internally by ownership.

Next step: Demolition. Yes, there will be an implosion.

We’ve also been told an announcement of the Tropicana’s plans could come as soon as Jan. 29, 2024. That’s today if you’re reading this on Jan. 29. Please try and keep up. (Note: Our scoop’s been confirmed, see end of story for details.)

While the demolition of Tropicana has been anticipated for some time, the potential of an A’s move has nudged the process along. It does not, as many assume, mean the A’s move is a done deal. It’s complicated.

Hey, if the team won’t share renderings, we’re making our own.

By the time you read this, more details may have already been provided, but we wrote this before all that, as is our way. We got wind of the rumored closure on Jan. 24, 2024.

Tropicana recently stopped offering room bookings after April 1, 2024, a strong signal the resort will close.

Tropicana has struggled forever.

It’s owned by Bally’s Corporation (unrelated to the former Bally’s hotel, owned by Caesars Entertainment, now Horseshoe) and Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc.

There’s been a lot of chatter about a potential A’s move, mostly from people who haven’t been privy to the insider conversations and meetings between the A’s and casinos and opinion makers in Las Vegas.

To put it succinctly, a good number of power players in Las Vegas believe the A’s organization involves more clowns than all of Cirque du Soleil’s shows combined.

Not a rendering. We took this yesterday because we had a feeling.

Basically, there are lots of questions about whether the Trop will be the location of an A’s ballpark, despite legislation approved to use $380 million in taxpayer money to help build the facility on the Tropicana site. There are also those who question whether the A’s will come to Las Vegas at all. We are one of those people.

We’ve put the odds of the A’s moving to Las Vegas at 60/40. Which makes the closure of Tropicana a big risk, because the owners are making this move based on something that may never materialize.

The A’s haven’t provided any evidence of being able to contribute $1 billion to the project (they’re presumably trying to find investors to buy a minority stake in the team, zero takers), and there’s no evidence Bally’s Corp. has the resources to deliver on their lofty plans (at one point, they talked about three hotel towers). If a new resort happens, it will be called Bally’s Las Vegas. That’s one of the reasons Bally’s was rebranded to Horseshoe.

Sadly, Bally’s Corp. seems to have as many clues as the A’s. In the words of one Las Vegas casino honcho: “You can never have too many imaginary ballparks or hotel towers.”

The reality is Trop has been doomed for some time. The A’s saga just nudged things along. If the A’s deal falls through, the owners can sell the land as they seemed ready to do even before the A’s entered the picture.

Rumblings of a demolition surfaced in the 2000s when the resort was owned by Aztar Corp., but the old girl stood her ground, grinding out lackluster revenue and offering forgettable amenities. Looking at you, Robert Irvine’s Public House.

Trop originally opened April 4, 1957. We trust the rumored closing date being close to the anniversary is no coincidence.

The history of the Tropicana has been fraught with financial struggles, changes of ownership and big plans that never came to pass.

For example, in 2013, it was announced there would be a $100 million investment in The Shops at Tropicana. Penn National Gaming bought the place from Onex and Alex Yemenidijan in 2021 and nixed that plan.

Tropicana Shops
What might have been. And by that we mean a financial disaster.

So, we’re about to bid farewell to another classic Las Vegas casino. That’s sad, but what’s sadder is there’s no telling what might happen next, and if things don’t go according to the very sketchy plans, we could end up with another casino being demolished for a parking lot.

Think we’re being dramatic? Two words. Riv. Iera. Yes, it can be two words for emphasis. We are a professional blogger. Move along.

Whatever happens, it’s all fascinating, and you’ll hear what we hear when we hear it. We know Las Vegas scoop is your love language.

Update (1/29/24): Tropicana has confirmed it will close on April 2, 2024.

See? They think the A’s thing is a fait accompli. Awkward.

Here’s the official statement from Tropicana (1/29/24):

“Bally’s Corporation today officially announced that it is proceeding with the next steps for the development of a state-of-the art integrated resort and ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip.

“Tropicana Las Vegas is expected to cease operations on April 2, 2024, to prepare for the decommissioning and demolition of the existing structures. Following demolition and completion of the master plan, approximately 9 acres will be contributed to the Athletics or a related stadium authority to construct their proposed 30,000-seat ballpark. The ballpark is expected to welcome more than 2.5 million fans and visitors annually and will be a one-of-a-kind asset for the Las Vegas Strip.

“Bally’s looks forward to the development of a new resort and ballpark that will be built in its place and will become a new landmark, paying homage to the iconic history and global appeal of Las Vegas and its nearly 50 million visitors a year.

“Bally’s partnership with the Athletics is a win for all stakeholders including Gaming & Leisure Properties, Inc., which is contributing the land for the ballpark location. Bally’s is fully aligned in the ambition to deliver a unique development worthy of this iconic site on the Strip. The master plan for the site will accelerate once the Athletics’ ballpark concept design is finalized. The overall development will create energy and vibrancy that previously hasn’t existed on this side of the Strip, adding additional excitement for the sports destination.”

This statement doesn’t instill a lot of confidence. “The ballpark is expected to welcome more than 2.5 million fans and visitors annually.” The math simply doesn’t math. The average attendance for MLB is 26,460 per game. The A’s are averaging about 9,000. This is the A’s move in a nutshell. Lots of  unbridled enthusiasm, virtually nothing to back it up.

According to Sports Illustrated, “Of the 14 games in the majors this season to draw fewer than 8,000 fans, 13 are A’s games.”

While we’re skeptical these plans will come to fruition, we hope so, because even a meh casino is better than an empty lot.

More to come, and there’s always more to the story.