Tropicana Las Vegas to be Imploded, Tentative Date Set

UPDATE: The Tropicana  will be imploded. Controlled Demolition, Inc., which brought down the Landmark in 1995  and the Riviera in 2015, will be handling the controlled demolition. Before that can happen, though, dust control and asbestos abatement permits must be secured, crowd and traffic control plans approved, and a special events permit obtained by Tropicana owner Bally’s Corp.

EARLIER: The Trop will drop in October, according to a new report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino meets its maker on May 9, 2006. Las Vegas has a long history of staging implosions as public spectacles. (Image: Associated Press)

Soo Kim, chair of Tropicana’s current owner, Bally’s Corp., gave the newspaper that estimate on Thursday, qualifying it by stating it’s “subject to permitting and further changes.”

Soo’s answer may signal that Bally’s is attempting to apply for a permit to implode, which would require significantly more environmental approval than the wrecking ball. Bally’s has yet to say which method of destruction will be employed.

Either way, before the hotel and casino is brought down, weeks of work will be required to prepare it. And afterward, weeks of cleanup will also be required. The hotel opened on April 4, 1957, and closes on April 2, 2024.

Curve Balls

The Tropicana will close on April 2. (Image: Tropicana Las Vegas)

Bally’s has repeatedly stated its intention to build a new, $1.5 billion baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics on nine acres of the 35-acre site. Mortenson-McCarthy, the construction firm hired by the A’s, told the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last year that construction would start on the ballpark in April 2025, and finish in time for the start of the 2028 season.

However, the recent further downgrading of Bally’s credit rating into junk territory by Moody’s has cast doubt on its future plans.

In addition to building a baseball stadium, those plans include building an adjoining casino hotel on the Tropicana site. And Bally’s has also fallen a reported $800 million short of being able to finance a casino hotel in downtown Chicago.

High leverage and junk credit ratings are problematic for companies seeking financing. That’s because if those firms issue corporate debt, they must do so with high interest rates to compensate creditors for perceived risk.

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. owns the 35-acre Tropicana site. Bally’s entered a 50-year lease for the site with GLPI in 2021.

The biggest fear of many Las Vegas observers is that the Strip will lose an icon of its history, and in return, gain only another vacant lot for a decade or longer.

Rooms Still Available

Rooms are still available for every night through the Tropicana’s last on April 1. Rates for its final Friday and Saturday night are $259, plus taxes and fees, according to the resort’s direct booking site. Sunday and Monday night are $499 each.

The casino’s slots and table games will all close at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

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