Tropicana Implosion, Casino Workers Shut Down Strip, Don Laughlin RIP

Dan Michalski

Updated by Dan Michalski

News Writer

Last Updated 14th Mar 2024, 07:22 AM

Tropicana Implosion, Casino Workers Shut Down Strip, Don Laughlin RIP

The iconic Tropicana's time has come ... to make room for a new Las Vegas baseball stadium. (Image: Robert Harding / Alamy) 

LAS VEGAS – Here’s a quick scroll-down of the stories making a casino-minded street reporter this week go 🤔💰.

Tropicana Implosion Commotion 💥 ⚾

The sportification of Las Vegas, Nevada, continues by the day. The Las Vegas Stadium Authority conducted its first official business with Major League Baseball’s A’s on Wednesday. And with it came word that the Strip’s second-oldest casino (after the Flamingo) would have to clear out in time for the A’s to break ground on a $1.5 billion stadium by April 2025. (The Street)

The Tropicana has long made the short list of “next casino to be imploded.” Now we have an implosion date over/under: December 1, 2024. *

This is an all-but-done deal. MLB owners still have to vote (by a 75% margin) to approve the move, and the team still has to come up with $1.1 billion in private financing for the stadium … but hey, the A’s lost 112 games this season – they can find a way!

* Betting information for entertainment purposes only. Gamble responsibly.

Cirque du Civil Disobedience 🚨👮

We wanna support the Las Vegas hospitality workers, really we do. They deserve better pay, benefits, safer working conditions, and a seat at the table as new technology gets introduced to casino workforces

Here's a really good story from today about how automation in hospitality is negatively impacting casino workers in Detroit. It's a big part of why some workers there are already on strike -- and it's a key to what unions are chanting for in Las Vegas. (New York Times)

But the Culinary Union’s big show on Wednesday elicited a collective groan more than a cheer from some who support them in their battle against Big Casinos. As our reporting considered, the civil disobedience was more production than protest, with Las Vegas Metro Police seemingly in on the camera-ready act.

casino protesters 'arrested' on Las Vegas Strip

With a strike possible, union casino workers wanted to let the world know they were willing to shut down Las Vegas Boulevard if they can't get a decent contract. Police seemed happy to assist. (Photo courtesy of Culinary 226 / X)

With local media at the ready, a phalanx of metro police officers stopped traffic in front of the protestors sitting in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard (on souvenir cushions) between Bellagio and Paris. Those wearing yellow armbands were then gently placed in zip ties and taken into custody. The perp-walk went off without a hitch, as police lined up the arrestables next to each other, perfect for a group picture.

No word on any actual prosecutions moving forward. We asked the Culinary Union what charges their members might face – jaywalking, blocking traffic, public nuisance? – and who was selected to be arrested. The media team directed us to a virtual press conference where these questions weren’t asked or answered. 

Meanwhile, some stock analysts aren’t too worried about the increasing cost of labor hurting the casino industry’s bottom line. They’re saying now’s a good time to buy or hold stock from Caesars, Wynn, Boyd and Penn – all stocks that have taken a beating in recent months. (Barron’s)

Casinos in the Court 🎰 ⚖️

In Arkansas, the state supreme court ruled on Thursday that when there’s one casino license to give, two independent partners can’t share it. We’re no expert on Arkansan constitutional matters, nor do we have one in our rolodex, but the best we can tell, this is an ongoing paperwork battle between competing interests for building a casino. (Arkansas Online

In a similar fight between vested interests … the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday issued a ruling (written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh) that allows the Seminoles to offer mobile sports betting anywhere in the state of Florida, not just on the tribal grounds of their casinos. The implications of this one are far reaching, literally. (New York Times)

There’s a local city council election in Taunton, Massachusetts, next week, and one of the big issues for candidates is where they stand on building a casino in this town of 60,000 between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. (Taunton Gazette

The Illinois Gaming Board granted Bally’s Corporation (based in Providence fwiw) its permanent license on Wednesday. This means they can move forward with construction of their $1.7 billion Chicago masterpiece, set to open in 2026, and can stay in the Medinah Temple until then. (Block Club Chicago)

Laughlin, Nevada, on the Colorado River

Laughlin, Nevada, and the Riverside Casino -- a vision started 60 years ago by Don Laughlin. (Image: Ron Niebrugge / Alamy)

Laughlin RIP 💔🪦

Any casino fan has gotta pay respects to Don Laughlin, who died on Sunday at age 92. He spent his final days at the resort he founded in the town he created. A true Nevada visionary, Laughlin was the architect of a Vegas alternative, 100 miles south of Sin City. 

Building the Riverside Resort in the 1960s at the end of a dirt road on the banks of the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona, Laughlin (the town) grew to have eight casino-hotels hosting two million visitors a year. My grandparents, who retired in Las Vegas in the 1990s, loved the place. They regularly made the drive for a weekend escape. (Fox 10 Phoenix)

Dan Michalski is a Las Vegas-based journalist who covers the casino industry and casino people. Follow him on X @danmichalski.

Meet The Author

21 Years
Dan Michalski
Dan Michalski
News Writer News Writer

Dan Michalski is a longtime journalist based in Las Vegas with nearly 20 years as a writer and editor covering poker, casino gaming and sports betting. As founder of Pokerati and an award-winning blogger, podcaster and news reporter, Dan has worked tirelessly to elevate the standards of journalism in gaming media. He also has served as a gaming industry consultant and holds advanced certificates in gaming regulation from UNLV. When not thinking about media and casinos, he can be found on the tennis courts, where he has captained two teams to USTA national championships, and one to second place.

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