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Tropicana Las Vegas Set to Close Permanently April 2

Another landmark Las Vegas hotel and casino is headed for a date with a wrecking ball this spring when the fabled Tropicana Las Vegas will be torn down to make way for the new Las Vegas A’s baseball stadium. It’s just the latest chapter in Sin City’s effort to re-brand itself as Sportstown USA.

The Tropicana Las Vegas has a storied past that stretches back 67 years to the city’s birth as the capital of regulated gambling in the United States. Back then, organized crime ruled nearly every aspect of the gambling world and the Tropicana was no exception. At the Tropicana, which is now owned by the Bally’s Corporation, marketers traded on that image with nods to organized crime, including a mafia museum.

These days, Vegas is counting on professional athletes rather than colorful criminals to draw in crowds, and the arrival of the Oakland A’s baseball team in 2028 proves that beyond a doubt. The Vegas A’s will be playing at an as-yet-to-be-named 33-acre, $1.5 billion facility that will include the former Tropicana site.

It’s unclear what will happen to the Tropicana’s 700 employees, 300 of whom are members of the local Culinary Union. That union just secured a new contract for those workers in November, 2023. Tropicana General Manager Arik Knowles addressed that issue in comments to the Nevada Independent saying, “We understand and appreciate the number of questions many of you have at the time. Please be assured that property leadership is working closely with Bally’s leadership to assist all team members through this transition period.”

For decades, Las Vegas had no professional sports teams thanks to the perceived threat of organized crime elements that were deeply embedded in every Strip casino. Now those same professional sports teams are radically reshaping the face of that very same Las Vegas Strip.