Nevada gaming regulators have unanimously recommended that Providence, Rhode Island-based Bally’s be approved to acquire the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip and be licensed to operate the casino.
The preliminary approval comes over a year after the $308 million purchase from Penn Entertainment Inc., was first announced. Bally’s Corp. representatives told the Board they expected to close on September 25 or 26.
Bally’s is already licensed in Nevada with Bally’s Lake Tahoe close to the California border near Reno/Sparks. Bally’s considers Tropicana to be its flagship property in the west. The company renamed the former MontBleu Casino Resort after purchasing it last year.
All told, Bally’s has over a dozen premier properties and was recently awarded the tender to build Chicago’s first and only casino. A temporary casino is planned to open there next June.
Company spokespeople said that no redevelopment is expected to occur on the Tropica this year. However, like all of their newly acquired properties, the site is expected to bear Bally’s name.
One Final Approval
It was the last major hurdle to completing the takeover, with the Nevada Gaming Commission making the final decision on Sept. 22.
Gaming and Leisure Properties, formed as a spin-off of Penn National Gaming and the owner of more than 50 casino properties, owns the hotel and casino complex which is currently operated by Penn Entertainment. When the deal is closed that agreement will become moot as Bally’s begins the first of its $10.5 million a year payments set to continue for the next 50 years.
Bally’s President George Papanier said, “Over the last several years, we’ve been very busy growing Bally’s footprint. We view Tropicana Las Vegas as an opportunity for a flagship property for our western region.”
Regulators questioned company officials for more than 2 hours. They said they were comfortable with company oversight being adequate while mentioning they had questions for Bally’s compliance officers and executives due to the rapid expansion the company has embarked on over the last couple of years.
According to the Review-Journal, Bally’s online operations are now almost on “the same footing” as their land-based operations. The company purchased Gamesys of London for $2.7 billion in early 2021. Gamesys handles all of its online casino storefronts.
Bally’s Expanding Rapidly
In addition to the $1.7 billion resort on the former site of the Chicago Tribune next to the Chicago River, the company opened Bally’s Quad Cities in Rock Island, Illinois, and Bally’s Evansville in Indiana in the last two years. Bally’s Evansville was formerly known as Tropicana Evansville.
It’s unclear to the company at this point whether it will renovate in Las Vegas, do a completely new construction project, or a mixture of the two.
Other developments for the company include $100 million in renovations at properties in Atlantic City and Rhode Island along with remodeling Bally’s Kansas City – a project slated for about $50 million. Construction has already begun on a casino in State College, Pennsylvania.
No immediate changes in restaurant operations are planned at this time and total staffing is expected to remain the same for the time being.
The William Hill sports book is also expected to remain in operation until Bally’s transitions to in-house sports betting.
Source: Bally’s says it will close purchase of Tropicana Las Vegas next month, The Nevada Independent, Argust 10, 2022