An iconic Las Vegas Strip resort-casino now has a new owner, and that may be only the start of major changes.
On the Las Vegas Strip, nothing big happens quickly.
Building a new resort-casino can take years and a lot can go wrong. Fontainebleau Las Vegas might be the most extreme example: That project, which looks on track to open in 2023, has taken nearly 20 years to complete.
The resort-casino has gone through multiple owners and has looked dead a number of times. Now, it’s back in the hands of its original owner, and it appears to have cleared all the hurdles to full construction and opening.
That’s not typical, but a lot of deals get announced and never quite happen or look very different when they’re actually executed. So when major deals get announced, you have to be a bit skeptical. A casino changing hands is not the same as a house or even a major retail development being sold.
Casino sales also require a variety of regulatory approvals.
But in the face of everything that could have derailed the sale, Bally’s Corp. (BALY) – Get Bally’s Corporation Report has completed its purchase of the Tropicana.
That, however, may just be the first step on a transformative journey for the legendary Las Vegas Strip property.
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Bally’s Takes Over the Tropicana
“BREAKING NEWS! We have officially joined the @ballyscorporation family. We can’t wait for all the exciting things to come! For more information about Bally’s visit http://ballys.com,” the Tropicana said on its Twitter page.
Bally’s initially will add the property to its rewards program instead of the one operated by Penn Gaming (PENN) – Get Penn National Gaming Inc. Report, which previously operated Tropicana’s casino.
Penn customers can redeem their myChoice rewards points at Las Vegas’s off-Strip M Resort or at any of the company’s other properties around the country.
For now, Bally’s won’t be taking the Tropicana name off the marquee, which the company’s president, George Papanier, has said will become the company’s “western flagship.”
Bally’s plans to operate the property for 18 to 24 months before making any major changes.
Bally’s Has Big Ideas for Tropicana
Since the Bally’s name has been taken off the Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc. Report property on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s available for use on the Tropicana.
The company won’t rush to do that because it makes little sense to pay for a rebrand when a complete teardown and rebuild remain possible.
“But in this case, we think we should also evaluate the potential for a complete redevelopment because of its competitive position in the market right now,” Papanier told the Nevada Gaming Commission, Casino.org reported.
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Part of a major redevelopment could include building a stadium for Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics. The Tropicana site remains one of two (along with some land adjacent to Circus Circus) that the team has publicly acknowledged as an option.
If the A’s leave Oakland, which seems increasingly likely, the team has floated plans to build a 30,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof.
“They’re continuing to engage with us, and hopefully there will be an opportunity where we could do a joint development,” Papanier said on Sept. 7, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.