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Tropicana Las Vegas closes after 67 years on the Strip

Richard N. Velotta and McKenna Ross, Las Vegas Review-Journal on

Published in News & Features

LAS VEGAS — Tears, cheers and beers.

They all marked the final hours of the Tropicana, one of the oldest of the remaining old-school Vegas casinos that once was the playground of the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., but closed its doors early Tuesday, two days short of the 67th anniversary of its opening.

Some of the slot machines along the resort entrance were the first to go, decommissioned days before the formal closing date.

Although casino operator Bally’s Corporation announced the casino play would end at 3 a.m., casino workers got an early start on the table games, shutting down blackjack, roulette and craps at around midnight.

With the tables dark, that left hundreds of gamblers hoping to score one last time at the remaining slot machines, many of which were still operating while other devices nearby displayed “out of order” messages on their screens.

Occasional players would whoop when they hit something big and other gamblers would crane their necks to witness the excitement. Most of the patrons exploring the casino were shooting cell-phone pictures and videos, capturing the scene of the last gasp of the Trop casino under the famed stained-glass canopy that preservationists hope to save.

 

Earlier in the evening, the Chill’m bar was the place to be, serving a record crowd that wanted to give it an appropriate send-off. Just about every other food outlet in the casino was closed — along with many of the restrooms.

At around 1:30 a.m., the swing shift of casino dealers gathered in the pit for a champagne toast.

Dealers, many of them dressed in Vegas Golden Knights gear, hugged each other, cried and took home souvenirs, some of the plastic signs that were on tables.

“It was kind of a special time,” said dealer Joe Simonetti as he walked from the casino floor after the shift ended. “We just closed the pit, had some champagne and said goodbye,” he said. “Now we’re going to go to a bar and have a drink and move on with our lives.”

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