A’s pivot to new site for Vegas baseball stadium, lowering public funding request

Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz

The Oakland A’s and Bally’s Corp. have an agreement in place for the team to build a $1.5 billion stadium on a portion of the Tropicana Las Vegas site, a move expected to reduce the amount of public financing sought for the project to $395 million.

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations told The Nevada Independent on Tuesday that under the scope of the deal, Bally’s plans to demolish the Tropicana and allow the A’s to construct a 35,000-seat retractable roof stadium on 9 acres of the 34-acre site on Tropicana Avenue near the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip.

The A’s were initially looking to secure legislative support for a $500 million public funding package involving tax credits and the creation of a special taxation district to help fund stadium construction. The team announced that it had reached a “binding agreement” with Red Rock Resorts in mid-April to acquire land to house the stadium, but recently moved to revisit other potential stadium sites.

Because real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties owns the land that is leased to Bally’s, the A’s would no longer have to pay land acquisition costs. Bally’s pays Gaming and Leisure annual rent of $10.5 million under a 50-year lease agreement.

“This is now the deal. This is what we’re working on,” a source familiar with the negotiations said in regard to the team dropping the focus on the Red Rock land.

Tropicana hotel-casino seen on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Even with the lower public funding request, the team is still likely to look for approval from state lawmakers and Gov. Joe Lombardo for a financing package covering a portion of stadium construction costs. No legislation to do so has been introduced with 28 days remaining in the state’s 120-day legislative session, and Democratic legislative leaders said last week that they are still awaiting solid details from the team and would likely need it by this week.

A source briefed on the knowledge of the plans said the tax package structure is similar to the one planned for the original site, “but work still needs to be done to finalize the language.”

With no concrete proposal and touch-and-go negotiations ongoing, sources spoke to The Nevada Independent on the condition of anonymity. Officials from Bally’s and Gaming and Leisure did not respond to requests for comment. An A’s spokeswoman also declined to comment.

According to sources with knowledge of the deal, Bally’s would build a new 1,500-room hotel-casino across from the stadium once completed. The hotel-casino would be separate from the ballpark.

The deal would undo the A’s “binding agreement” announced three weeks ago with Red Rock Resorts for 49 acres on the west side of Interstate 15 at Tropicana and Dean Martin Drive where the team had wanted to build the stadium.

The A’s had planned to build an entertainment district around the stadium with restaurants, retail and other entertainment offerings, but that is no longer part of the project.

“This is now the deal. This is what we’re working on,” a source familiar with the negotiations said.

A source said the original stadium construction timeline is still in place beginning in 2024 with a planned opening date in 2027, which could be pushed to 2028 if the construction timeline changes.

Rhode Island-based Bally’s, which operates 15 casinos in 10 states, owns Bally’s Lake Tahoe. The company is opening a temporary casino in downtown Chicago later this year. The facility is a prelude to the company’s planned $1.7 billion resort complex at the former Chicago Tribune plant along the Chicago River.

The A’s has been exploring the Las Vegas Valley for a new home for much of the past two years, looking at nearly two dozen sites before announcing the agreement with the Red Rock Resorts. Because the sales had not yet closed, the price for the land was not disclosed.

Bally’s acquired the operations of the Tropicana from Gaming and Leisure in September as part of a $148 million deal that involved Penn Entertainment.


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