Penn National Gaming Inc. is gearing up to spend over $500 million on Tropicana Las Vegas in the next two years. In addition to the $360 million the casino and racetrack operator will spend to acquire the beach-themed resort, it also plans to spend $200 million on upgrades to the 58-year-old hotel. But longtime visitors need not worry that the Tropicana will lose its charm; the upgrades are expected to be in sync with the resort’s original vibe.
Penn National got the go-ahead from A.G. Burnett, head of the Nevada Gaming Control Board last week, who said the acquisition would be good for both the Strip and the state. The deal still needs Nevada Gaming Commission approval, though; the commission is expected to make a final offer on August 20.
Tropicana currently has 1,500 affordably priced hotel rooms – the average going for $154 a night. When it opened in 1957, Tropicana was one of the strip’s most lavish casinos and featured entertainers from Sammy Davis Jr. to Louis Armstrong.
After its heyday, the Rat Pack-era resort began to fade and eventually declared bankruptcy in 2008. Today, overhead pedestrian bridges link the resort to its neighbors MGM Grand Las Vegas and Excalibur. It also features the Laugh Factory comedy club and Biscayne Steak – one of the top rated steakhouses on the strip.
Penn National, a quickly-growing casino group, will make Tropicana its second purchase on the strip following its 2010 acquisition of M Resort and Casino.
The company operates 26 casinos nationwide and has over three million customers. Its newest president of Las Vegas properties, Bob Sheldon, began his Vegas career at the Hilton and Mirage, including serving as president of the Golden Nugget.
Penn’s first move will be to integrate its database from its properties across America into the Tropicana’s.
(Photo credit: Håkan Dahlström, Creative Commons.)
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