Tropicana Las Vegas Bids Farewell to Make Way for New Major League Baseball Stadium

February 5, 2024

After almost seven decades of operating at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, the Tropicana Las Vegas will close its doors on April 2, just two days shy of its 67th anniversary. The 1,470-room resort is slated for decommissioning and demolition to clear the way for a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat professional baseball stadium and integrated resort, according to Bally’s Corporation, which has owned the Rat Pack-era hotel-casino since 2022.

The proposed ballpark will serve as the new home of the city’s first Major League Baseball team – the Oakland Athletics, which are relocating to Las Vegas in time for the 2028 season, according to local news reports. Construction is expected to begin by April 2025.

Looking back

Opened on April 4, 1957, the Tropicana is one of the oldest hotel-casinos still standing on the Las Vegas Strip. Boasting a rich legacy of hosting many big-name entertainers throughout its storied history, the formerly lavish, 300-room resort was deemed the most expensive hotel property ever built in Las Vegas at that time, with a price tag of $15 million.  

The property’s closure also means that 88,409 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 12,000 sq. ft. special event room, two 24,000 and 25,000 sq. ft. ballrooms, a 700 sq. ft. boardroom, 37 meeting rooms and five breakout rooms, will go offline.

In an official statement released on Jan. 29, Bally’s President George Papanier said the shutdown marked “an exciting next chapter for Bally’s,” which operates 16 hotel-casinos in 10 states.

What they are saying

George Papanier, Bally's
George Papanier, Bally's

“We are honored to be a key partner with the Athletics on bringing a Major League ballpark to the great city of Las Vegas,” Papanier said. “This is an incredible accomplishment for us as we continue to expand our global footprint and strengthen our sports portfolio, which already includes our digital sportsbook, Bally Bet and numerous marketing partnerships with professional teams, and leagues. We thank our stakeholders, partners, the city of Las Vegas, Clark County and the state of Nevada for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Following the Tropicana’s demolition and completion of the site’s master plan, approximately nine out of the site’s 35 acres will be contributed to the Athletics or a related stadium authority to construct the ballpark, which is expected to welcome more than 2.5 million fans and visitors annually and become a one-of-a-kind asset for the Las Vegas Strip, according to Bally’s officials.

They added that the global casino-entertainment company’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, and that the master plan will accelerate once the Athletics’ ballpark concept design is finalized. They did not mention how soon the Tropicana’s demolition will begin following its closing.

In a press release, Bally’s officials added, “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.” 

Impact of closure

Meanwhile, the Tropicana, which has been operating as a DoubleTree by Hilton, will begin closing out all hotel bookings and relocating future reservations, according to hotel officials.

In a Jan. 29 memorandum addressed to the resort’s approximately 700 employees, Tropicana Vice President and General Manager Arik Knowles expressed gratitude for the resort’s hard-working team members.

“On behalf of our entire leadership team, we deeply appreciate all the effort and incredible work our team has put forth during our time here — dating all the way back to the property's debut in 1957,” Knowles said. “While this is a great opportunity for the company, it comes with a bittersweet feeling, as this means that operations at the Tropicana Las Vegas will shut down for redevelopment.”

He continued, “The company is committed to providing you with as many resources as possible, including employment opportunities across the company and severance packages to eligible employees. We will also work with local agencies to assist with unemployment benefits and employment placement services, along with local unions who can assist with placement of their members.”

Why it matters

Ted Pappageorge, Culinary Workers Union
Ted Pappageorge, Culinary Workers Union

Approximately 500 Tropicana employees are represented by Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, which were able to successfully negotiate a new five-year labor agreement with the Tropicana following settlements reached with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts last November.

According to Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge, the Tropicana’s severance agreement will provide union workers with $2,000 for every year they were employed at the resort, along with six months of free health insurance. Those who opt out of the severance package will be paid up to $15,000 and given the opportunity to work at the new resort property that will eventually be built adjacent to the new stadium.

“We are very happy to be able to say that, while this is going to be certainly quite difficult for Tropicana workers, and many of them have been there for decades, we worked very hard when we negotiated the entire citywide [labor agreement] package,” Pappageorge said during a virtual press conference. “We reached an agreement earlier with the Tropicana hotel to guarantee that these workers have the same rights as the other properties up and down the Strip.”

He continued, “We worked very hard with Bally’s and the Tropicana negotiating team to get to that agreement. The Tropicana negotiating committee knows that workers worked very hard to make sure that we had a full contract in place, not knowing when this closure date could happen. It could have happened sooner, it could happen a year or two years from now – there was really no way to know, so we were very well prepared.”

Pappageorge added that the Unions will be meeting with Tropicana workers to make sure they fully understand the negotiated package prior to the resort’s closure date, and that they will assist employees who are not seeking to work at the new development find jobs elsewhere.


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