Bally’s outlines A’s ballpark, Tropicana closure, and redevelopment plans to Nevada regulators

March 6, 2024 8:31 PM
Photo: Negativ/Oakland A's (courtesy)
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
March 6, 2024 8:31 PM

Bally’s executives told Nevada gaming regulators Wednesday they’re on track to close the Tropicana Las Vegas on April 2 and continue to work with the Oakland A’s and property owner Gaming & Leisure Properties on a $1.5 billion ballpark and resort on the 35-acre site.

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The executives appeared before the Nevada Gaming Control Board as part of their licensing and other regulatory matters. They were peppered with questions from Board members about employee layoffs and the future of the site, which received national attention Tuesday when the A’s released renderings of their 33,000-seat domed stadium.

Ameet Patel, senior vice president and regional general manager of the western region for Bally’s, said the property has about 700 employees at this time, down from more than 1,000 when the closure was announced in late January. One-fourth of those employees have been at the Tropicana for more than 20 years.

Bally’s has partnered with several competitors on the Strip to help find positions for those workers and will be hosting a job fair for employers to recruit Tropicana staff.

Casino operations will cease at 3 a.m. on April 2, the day before the Tropicana’s 67th birthday. Food and beverage and hotel operations will continue until noon that day, Patel said. “We still have guests coming to the property and demand that we’re serving and we have group business all the way to the last day.”

Patel said they have committed to bringing back employees when the redevelopment is completed.

Marcus Glover, Bally’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, told regulators they’re working with stakeholders to have a stadium on the site by opening day of the 2028 baseball season.

“We’re working with GLPI and the A’s to develop and contemplate what that development will look like for opening in that timeframe,” Glover said. “We’re working with our construction-development partner on the demolition and site-abatement prep for the A’s, which has to be complete and be ready to hand over to the A’s by April 2025. It’s a bit serendipitous that the A’s released renderings yesterday in the sense that we’re working on a three-party agreement – a master redevelopment plan that contemplates the needs of all stakeholders – and that we can bring something to Nevada that will make the city proud. The stadium has to be the first domino to fall in terms of how they’re thinking about that from a vision standpoint. We’ll do a master redevelopment around the stadium as the anchor of that corner. Those conversations will continue. As we get closer to something we can unveil collectively, we’ll share that publicly.”

Board Chair Kirk Hendrick asked Glover if there were plans for a typical construction demolition or a celebratory sendoff with an implosion. No decision has been made.

“We’ve had a few conversations with our chairman and he got excited about the possibility of an implosion,” We talked a little bit about that internally,” Glover said. “As soon as we can confirm that, we’ll make sure that those plans are shared publicly.”

Bally’s attorney Dan Reaser said an implosion requires “significant environmental permitting. It’s not quite the same as when the Dunes was imploded (in 1993).”

Board member George Assad said he’s looking forward to “Tropicana 2.0” and recalled how he was a former employee at the property in the late ’70s as a blackjack dealer.

“It was a great property and my first job on the Strip,” Assad. “It helped launch my career into law school.”

Assad asked Glover for even more information on the stadium project, saying people are curious.

Glover told Assad that GLPI owns the land while Bally’s has development rights on the property of which it donated nine acres to the A’s. He called it a collaboration on how the site gets developed.

“As you see us move forward collectively and what was shared yesterday, I’m sure there will be iterations to massage and get that right for development that surrounds the stadium, works for traffic, is pedestrian-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing to that corner. That’s as much as I’m able to share right now. There are conversations going on constantly right now,” Glover said.

The Board recommended approval of licensing for Glover and Patel and the matter will go before the Nevada Gaming Commission March 21 for what is likely to be further discussion of the baseball stadium and resort redevelopment.