Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas Sets Closing Date

The Tropicana Hotel and Casino, a longtime staple of the Las Vegas Strip, has set April 2, 2024, as its final day of operations after more than 60 years in business. The closure marks the end of an era for one of the last remaining Rat Pack-era hotels in Las Vegas.

The 1,400-room hotel and 44,000-square-foot casino, which has been welcoming guests for nearly seven decades, will soon be imploded to make room for a new resort and a 30,000-seat baseball stadium, which will serve as the future home of the Athletics.

Approximately 500 employees will be affected by the closure. Bally’s has not disclosed the exact timeframe for the commencement of demolition following the closure. However, the closure’s timeline advanced much faster than anticipated.

The closure news comes months after Bally’s revealed it’s open to selling their lease on its iconic Tropicana Las Vegas. In a third-quarter earnings call with analysts late last year, CEO Robeson Reeves, President George Papanier, and Chairman Soo Kim discussed the possibility of selling the lease if a compelling offer was presented.

A legacy of glamor, controversy, and entertainment

The Tropicana originally opened on April 4, 1957, and has undergone several renovations and expansions over the decades. Known for its tropical theme and expansive casino floor, the hotel has played host to iconic performers, from Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles to Judy Garland and more in between over the years.

When it first opened as a 300-room hotel, it gained the reputation of being the epitome of luxury on the Strip, earning the title of the “Tiffany of the Strip.” Boasting a staggering price tag of $15 million, it proudly positioned itself as the most opulent and extravagant property in Sin City.

Tropicana Las Vegas served as the filming location for the 1964 movie Viva Las Vegas starring Elvis Presley, the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, and the 1972 film The Godfather, where it was rebranded as the Tropigala.

After multiple changes of ownership and connection to organized crime, The casino received a $157-million facelift in 2011, transitioning to a South Beach theme with white marble floors on the gaming floor. Over the years, it has hosted some of the best shows and events in Las Vegas.

However, the land the Tropicana occupies has become too valuable not to redevelop. The 35-acre parcel located directly across from the new Allegiant Stadium will be transformed into a mixed-use district anchored by a new baseball stadium for the Major League Baseball (MLB) team, Athletics.

New ballpark part of massive redevelopment

Bally’s plans for the site include a $1.5 billion enclosed baseball stadium designed to attract an MLB expansion team to Las Vegas. The stadium complex will occupy nine acres of the site and seat 32,000 people in a fixed-roof, air-conditioned facility optimized for baseball.

In November 2023, the relocation of the A’s to Las Vegas was authorized by Major League Baseball owners, and Nevada extended a generous offer of $380 million in public funding to assist in financing the project.

The stadium is anticipated to be ready for use by 2028, yet the Athletics’ ongoing lease with the Oakland Coliseum is set to end after the 2024 season, potentially causing the team to be temporarily without a home, as reported by LA Times Magazine.

In addition to the stadium, the rest of the land will be developed into an entertainment district tentatively named The District. Inspired by LA Live in Los Angeles and Kansas City’s Power & Light District, The District will feature bars, restaurants, performance venues, luxury hotels, and possibly even a casino.

The new stadium aims to host around 150 annual event dates, potentially attracting over 2 million additional visitors to Las Vegas each year. More job opportunities and tax revenue for the city are also expected from the development.

Tropicana’s closure ends an era for Las Vegas

The Tropicana’s closure concludes six decades of operation that trace back to the golden era of vintage Vegas. The resort epitomized the extravagance and spectacle that defined Las Vegas in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Over the years, guests enjoyed tropical landscaped gardens, the iconic neon “Tropicana” signage, and the long-running magic and burlesque show hosted by Penn & Teller. But the hotel’s roots as an early Strip casino were increasingly mismatched with the mega-resort experience visitors now expect in Las Vegas.

The Tropicana follows other historic hotels like the Riviera, Stardust, and Dunes that met similar fates of closure and demolition amid shifting visitor demographics and preferences in Las Vegas. Their replacements now form the modern landscape of luxury shopping, dining, pools, spas, and entertainment that attract today’s Vegas tourists.

The Tropicana Las Vegas will operate as usual until its final checkout on April 2. All reservations and player club benefits will be honored through the closing date.

For any guests that have booked stays at the Tropicana beyond the April 2nd closing date, the hotel has advised that those future reservations will automatically be canceled, and deposits will be refunded in full. 

The Tropicana has launched a dedicated website with contact details for their reservations team to assist impacted guests. The hotel aims to make the transition period as smooth as possible for visitors needing to modify their travel plans.

Final Thoughts

The impending closure of the Tropicana Casino marks a bittersweet moment for Las Vegas. While the city prepares to say goodbye to a beloved landmark, it also embraces the potential for exciting new developments. The Tropicana’s legacy as a pioneer in the city’s gaming industry will undoubtedly endure, reminding visitors and residents alike of the vibrant history and ever-evolving spirit of Las Vegas. While the lights will soon go dark on this beloved Vegas landmark after over 60 years, the new stadium and entertainment district aims to light up a new chapter for Las Vegas tourism.

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