Tropicana Las Vegas Closed, Demolition Potentially This Year 

The venerable Tropicana Las Vegas closed its doors for the final time this Tuesday after nearly 67 years on the Las Vegas Strip.

The historic casino resort is set to be replaced by a Major League Baseball ballpark to host the Oakland Athletics after the team’s planned move to Las Vegas. 

Kim Soo, chairman of site owner Bally’s Corporation, set a tentative demolition date this week. He told reporters the site could be imploded as soon as October. However, he admitted that was not set in stone. 

The A’s are looking to move into their new stadium on the site by 2028. Bally’s plans after that to build a more compact casino resort on the remaining space of the land. 

Tropicana’s History 

The Trop, as it was affectionately known by many locals, has been a Las Vegas Strip stalwart since 1957. When it opened, it was the most expensive resort in Sin City. 

The build cost $15 million, or $470 million, adjusted for inflation. 

It quickly became an icon of the burgeoning gambling destination. A Who’s Who of music acts and movie stars passed through over the years. Among various famous move shoots, Elvis Presley starred in scenes from Viva Las Vegas, filmed on the Tropicana’s casino floor, and Sean Connery starred as James Bond at the casino in Diamonds are Forever. 

The Trop also made history when Sammy Davis Jr. bought an 8% share in 1972. That made him the first Black person to have a major stake in a Las Vegas casino operation. 

However, that glorious heyday was soured by a series of mob-connected scandals in the ’70s and early ’80s.

It has since changed hands many times over the years, with the last significant remodel being in 2011. 

Changing Future 

The closure of the oldest operating Las Vegas casino to make way for a baseball stadium is indicative of the changing times in the city. 

When the Tropicana opened, Sin City had just reached a population of 100,000. Today, it stands at 656,000. 

The A’s move is just the latest in a line of sports teams moving to Las Vegas. The new stadium will be just across the street from the T-Mobile Arena, home to the Stanley Cup champions Vegas Golden Knights. It will also be only a mile from Allegiant Stadium, where the Las Vegas Raiders have played since 2020. 

Bally’s says it plans to preserve some of Tropicana’s most historic elements in its new casino on the site. That could include the iconic stained glass atrium canopy, although there is no word on the details of any preservation efforts just yet. 

Bally’s is in a tight financial spot. Its efforts to build the first casino resort in Downtown Chicago have been controversial (and expensive), as has its proposal in the race for a downstate New York casino license. 

Whatever happens to the site, casino-wise, one thing is for sure: as of Tuesday, Tropicana Las Vegas, 1957 to 2024, is no more.

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