Tropicana Las Vegas closes for Oakland Athletics’ new stadium
Tropicana Las Vegas closes for Oakland Athletics’ new stadium
Wild Casino

LAS VEGAS (CN) — The Tropicana Las Vegas casino and resort was closing operations on Tuesday to pave the way for a groundbreaking $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat stadium for the Oakland Athletics — Las Vegas' inaugural Major League Baseball team.

The casino's closure comes just shy of its 67th anniversary, signifying a major shift in the city's landscape and a leap toward extensive redevelopment.

“I heard about the Trop getting dropped, so I'm going ahead and pull up and take some pictures before it gets knocked down," Lou Texas told Courthouse News early Tuesday morning. “I've never stayed here, but I've gambled here a lot. I've won. I've lost. I've won. Met a female, lost. Then I was good again and went home.”

Bally's Corporation bought the Tropicana Las Vegas in September 2022 in a $148 million cash deal, coupled with a 50-year land lease agreement.

The deal underscores the transformational journey of Las Vegas, heralding a new era in entertainment and hospitality that Tropicana Las Vegas has epitomized since its debut on April 4, 1957.

Originally celebrated as the "Tiffany of the Strip," the Tropicana has been a beacon of extravagance, luring worldwide visitors with its opulent, tropical-themed decor, including an indoor-outdoor pool and a cascading waterfall. The resort, once a refuge for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, redefined luxury in Las Vegas.

Chanel Pontier, with her daughter Jayla Thomas, niece Kayla Michaela and goddaughter Michaela Burgess, gathered Monday evening — the last night the casino was open — to take pictures with the Tropicana as the backdrop.

Pontier, who returned to her native Las Vegas two years ago after being raised in Georgia and South Carolina, said she understood why the 67-year-old hotel must go.

"It's going to be a bit heartbreaking, really," Pontier said. "There's a whole little piece of history vanishing before our eyes. Yes, it's going to leave a void. However, we understand that there are better things on the horizon. Yet it remains a sad moment, witnessing another historic hotel and casino in Las Vegas being taken down."

From its inception, Tropicana stood out as an entertainment powerhouse, introducing the innovative "Theater in the Round" that offered an intimate setting for performances by legendary showbiz personalities.

However, it wasn't without its challenges; the 1970s saw Tropicana entangled in a scandal associated with organized crime. Despite these issues, it managed to uphold its reputation, adapting and flourishing through the turmoil as Luxor, MGM Grand, and the New York New York Hotel and Casino joined it near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.

Over the years, the ever-changing face of Las Vegas was reflected in the numerous owners who took over, each bringing their unique touch and improvements. They aimed to keep up with what visitors wanted, constantly adapting to the city's lively spirit. Especially in the 1980s and 1990s, this meant expanding with new towers, more places to eat and additional gaming options.

In recent years, Tropicana has modernized its offerings while paying homage to its storied past and tropical theme. Yet on its final day, the visible wear and tear — dated and threadbare carpets within, alongside the exterior's chipped white paint and broken windows — reflected the passage of its 67 years of history.

“It looks pretty beat up now, but what a history and what a wonderful place,” Maria Rust told Courthouse News. “I will miss this casino, but Las Vegas isn’t a museum and time moves on.”

The hotel is set to be demolished in October. Bally’s has outlined plans to build a new resort on the leftover land not used for the forthcoming ballpark. The A's are set to take the field in Las Vegas in 2028.