Vegas Icon Tropicana Set for Spectacular Demolition this October


The renowned Tropicana, an iconic strip in Las Vegas is set for a spectacular implosion, according to a recent declaration by Controlled Demolition, Inc. The demolition company, reputed for demolishing the Landmark in 1995 and the Riviera in 2015, is set to handle the Tropicana’s controlled obliteration. However, several regulatory hurdles need to be surmounted, including securing the necessary dust control and asbestos abatement permits. To further ensure a safe execution, Tropicana’s owner, Bally’s Corp, is saddled with the responsibility of approving crowd and traffic control plans and obtaining a special events permit.

Once fondly referred to as ‘The Trop’, the Strip is set to meet its untimely end in October, according to revelations in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino, in its time, suffered similar fate on May 9, 2006 and Las Vegas is accustomed to hosting implosions as quite the public spectacle.

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Chairperson of Bally’s Corp, Soo Kim, revealed in a recent interview with the newspaper that the planned date of the Tropicana’s demise is subject to changes as it depends on the approval of necessary permits. This indicates that Bally’s Corp may currently be seeking permit to enact the planned implosion. If indeed this method of destruction is employed, it would require more substantial environmental approval than using a wrecking ball. Bally’s Corp, however, remains mum on which method they would eventually resort to for the demolition.

One thing is certain, regardless of how the demolition is carried out, it must be preceded by weeks of diligent preparation and followed by thorough clean-up. A grand dame of Las Vegas, the Tropicana hotel and casino first opened its doors to an admiring public on April 4, 1957, and is now projected to shut its doors finally on April 2, 2024.

Whilst Bally’s Corp has maintained its intent to construct a $1.5 billion baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics on a section of the total 35-acre Tropicana site, there are fears as Moody’s recent downgrading of Bally’s credit rating into junk territory threatens future plans. Bally’s plans involve more than just a baseball stadium, they reportedly intend to construct an adjacent casino hotel at the Tropicana site but have fallen short of financing a casino hotel in downtown Chicago by approximately $800 million.

Highly leveraged and possessing junk credit ratings, Bally’s Corp faces significant challenges when seeking financing. To issue corporate debt, they would have to offer high interest rates to offset creditors’ perceived risks.

Currently, the 35-acre Tropicana site is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. In 2021, Bally’s Corp signed a 50-year lease with GLPI for the site. Despite these alliances and plans, there are many apprehensions around the idea of losing a historical icon, only to possibly have an empty lot for decades.

In the face of these plans and apprehensions, accommodations are still available at Tropicana until its presumed last day on April 1. The final Friday and Saturday night rates have been set at $259 plus taxes and fees, with the Sunday and Monday night rates at $499 each, according to the resort’s direct booking site. The hotel’s games and slots will continue to run until 3 a.m. Tuesday.