Tropicana Las Vegas Casino Closes after 67 Years

Las Vegas – The Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel, an iconic casino landmark during the 1970s, is closing its doors after 67 years of serving the public.

Considered by many to be a landmark in the Las Vegas Boulevard, the long-standing establishment is slated to be demolished in October 2024 to make way for a new stadium for Major League Baseball team Oakland Athletics. The creation of an MLB stadium is part of the state’s ongoing rebranding effort to be a sporting hub in the US.

It is expected that the new stadium will be operational by 2028. Once completed, it will be the first Major League Baseball stadium in the state, and it will be in close proximity to other stadiums of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, and NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

Historical Snapshot

The Tropicana Las Vegas opened its doors to the public back in April 4, 1957, and its moniker, “the desert oasis”, was well warranted. It was the most expensive casino after it opened in the Strip at the time, and its official opening was witnessed by around 12,500 people, according to local news reports.

Costing $15 million dollars to build, The Tropicana Las Vegas was synonymous with lavish extravagance: the 3-storey establishment initially had 300 rooms and slowly expanded into 600 rooms in 1979 when they built the Tiffany Tower, which they rebranded to the Paradise Tower. In 1986, the Island Tower was created, adding 800 rooms to accommodate more patrons.

Mob Ties

The Tropicana attracted all manner of people in its magnificent doors, including the mob. Noted mobster Frank Costello was tied into the Tropicana: he was noted to have in his possession numbers and figures of the Tropicana on his person following an attempt to end his life when he was in New York one week after the opening of the Las Vegas casino.

During the 1970s, Kansas City authorities investigating the mob found and convicted a dozen mob operatives for skimming $2 million in gambling revenue from various Las Vegas casinos which included the Tropicana.

Pop Culture Presence

Outside of nefarious connections, the Tropicana has also been an iconic location in pop culture. A veritable list of A-list celebrities during the 1950s such as Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, and The Rat Pack members Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra graced its halls during its heyday.

The Tropicana also had its indelible influence in the realm of TV and movies. As the third oldest casinos in the Strip, TV shows would often showcase the Tropicana as part of the Las Vegas iconography. Most notable movies that used the Tropicana include The Godfather and the James Bond movie, “Diamonds are Forever”. The eponymous spy and noted exceptional baccarat player stayed in the casino during a portion of the movie.

Memorable Acts

For attractions, the Tropicana was also home to some notable Las Vegas staples during its 67-year history. This includes the “Folies Bergere”, a cabaret originally from Paris that sported the iconic feathered showgirls and consisted of larger-than-life musical ensembles, which had a solid 50-year run. 

Musicians Mel Thorne and Eddie Fisher also called the Tropicana their home and crooned audiences in various decades. Meanwhile, other musicians like Gladys Knight and Wayne Newton once held residence in the Tropicana.

The Tropicana was also the backdrop back in 1998 when Robbie Knievel, a daredevil motorcyclist and son of Evel Knievel, managed to land a record-breaking jump over 30 limousines by soaring 231 feet (70 meters) over them.

The Changing Casino Landscape

The Tropicana Las Vegas interior

As a physical casino, the Tropicana Las Vegas offered classic casino games for its patrons. These include slot machines, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette tables which players took to in droves, especially during the peak of its popularity. Players who won at these casino games were well-rewarded, and would then be incentivized to frequent the establishment so long as their bankrolls could afford it.

As online casinos have become more popular, brick and mortar casinos have seen the need to adapt to the ever-changing industry. Apart from endeavors to gain a foothold in the digital space, they also have ramped up in various bonuses and promotions to get more players into their casino.

With the closing and demolition of the Tropicana, locals and long-standing workers of the hotel and casino shall fondly remember the establishment as a symbol of vintage Las Vegas nostalgia.

Last Updated on by jonathan r

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