Why The Closing Of The Tropicana Hotel Marks The End Of An Era In Las Vegas Real Estate – Yahoo Finance

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Why The Closing Of The Tropicana Hotel Marks The End Of An Era In Las Vegas Real Estate

Why The Closing Of The Tropicana Hotel Marks The End Of An Era In Las Vegas Real Estate

The recent announcement that the Tropicana Las Vegas will be closed and torn down to make way for the future home of the Oakland Athletics puts a bookend on the city’s image as a gambler’s paradise and ushers the city in as a modern, 21st-century metropolis. It’s a change that has been in the works for a long time.

The Tropicana is not nearly the newest, fanciest or most exciting casino in Las Vegas. By modern standards, it did not have the most luxurious facilities. What the Tropicana did have, however, was an incredibly colorful history. Originally built with under-the-table financial contributions from a consortium of mafia bosses that included Frank Costello, the Tropicana was a massive profit center.


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When it opened, the Tropicana was so luxurious it was known as the Tiffany of the Strip and gamblers flocked there to play. Most of them were oblivious that they were playing at a mob-run casino. They would have remained so if not for a failed attempt on Costello’s just a few months after the Tropicana opened.

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While Costello’s wound was being tended to, a police officer found a slip of paper in his pocket detailing all the Mafiosi getting a share of Tropicana profits despite none being registered owners. It was the first inkling America got that the mob was running Vegas behind the scenes. Ironically, that only added to Las Vegas’ mystique and appeal.

Despite that history, or perhaps because of it, the Tropicana survived even as newer casinos like the MGM Grand, Treasure Island and Luxor began dominating the Las Vegas skyline. By the mid-2000s Las Vegas was more than a gambling town as many casinos doubled down on live entertainment by the likes of Celine Dion and other stars who did year-round residencies.

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However, nothing symbolizes Las Vegas’s rebirth like the presence of major professional sports franchises. During the mob-run years, no professional franchise would consider moving to Vegas for fear of the influence that local mobsters may exert over professional athletes. That prohibition lasted for decades after the mob’s fall in Las Vegas.  Now, three major professional sports franchises play in Las Vegas.

The demolition of the Tropicana is a tectonic shift in Las Vegas real estate. Twenty years ago, the only reason to tear down a casino with a prime strip location would be to make way for a nicer, newer casino. Instead, the Tropicana will be replaced by a new baseball stadium. The A’s will join the NFL’s Raiders and the NHL’s Golden Knights as professional sports teams in what used to be Sin City.

Las Vegas has transformed itself from a gambler’s paradise to a modern, American city with professional sports franchises, a surging population of over 1 million people and a bustling real estate market that is growing more diverse every day. For all these reasons, closing the Tropicana marks the end of one era in Las Vegas and the beginning of a new one.

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