The Tropicana Las Vegas ends after 67 years of serving guests.  

Las Vegas — In “Diamonds are Forever,” James Bond stays in a luxurious Tropicana Las Vegas penthouse. “I hear that the Hotel Tropicana is quite comfortable,” Agent 007 remarks. The Tropicana thrived. The luxurious casino was a Rat Pack hangout, and its mob heritage solidified its place in Vegas history.  

After 67 years, the Las Vegas Strip's third-oldest casino will close at noon Tuesday and be demolished in October to make way for a $1.5 billion Major League Baseball stadium as part of the city's latest sports entertainment rebranding.

It's time. Charlie Granado, a 38-year Tropicana bartender, said the casino closed because it ran its course. Despite the cheerful ending, it makes me sad. After Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, reached 100,000 people, the Tropicana debuted on a desert-surrounded Strip. It cost $15 million to build three storeys with 300 rooms in two wings.  

Its manicured lawns and attractive showroom made it known as “Tiffany of the Strip.” A massive tulip-shaped fountain, mosaic tiles, and mahogany-paneled walls adorned the entrance.  

The Tropicana welcomed A-list stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. in its showroom, as shown in black-and-white photos from that time. Eddie Fisher and Mel Tormé performed at Tropicana. Gladys Knight and Wayne Newton lived there.  

Las Vegas is famed for reinvention, and the Tropicana changed with it. Later, two hotel towers were built. Above the casino floor was a $1 million green-and-amber stained glass ceiling erected in 1979. In 1978, 26-year-old Barbara Boggess became a Tropicana linen room attendant.  

The Tropicana was pretty much sitting here all by itself,” Boggess remarked. “It was desert everywhere. I used to get to work in 10 minutes. Now it takes an hour.” Boggess, 72, has seen the Tropicana evolve. The 1980s branding as “The Island of Las Vegas,” featuring a poolside blackjack table, and the 2011 South Beach-themed restoration.  

Low-rise hotel room wings are all that remain of the Tropicana. The casino evokes Vegas nostalgia. It evokes ancient Vegas. The stained glass and low ceilings greet you when you enter, said Las Vegas resident JT Seumala, who visited the casino in March. “It does feel like you step back in time.”  

Seumala and his husband remained at the Tropicana to honor it. They explored the casino floor, hotel, and conference center through random halls. They played blackjack and roulette and chatted with a 25-year cocktail server. After their stay, they kept some red $5 poker chips to remember the casino.  

In its early years, the Tropicana was linked to organized crime, notably through Frank Costello. Costello was shot in the head in New York weeks after the premier. Police spotted Tropicana profits on a paper in his suit pocket. The memo specified “money to be skimmed” for Costello's pals, according to a Tropicana history piece on The Mob Museum's website.  

By the 1970s, federal prosecutors investigating Kansas City mobsters indicted over a dozen mafia operatives with conspiring to steal about $2 million from Las Vegas casinos, including the Tropicana. Tropicana charges alone led to five convictions. The famous hotel-casino was likewise mob-free for years. It hosted the city's longest-running show, “Folies Bergere.” French-imported topless revues featured the feathered showgirl, a Las Vegas trademark.  

Over its nearly 50-year run, “Folies Bergere” featured lavish costumes and stage sets, original music played by a live orchestra, line dancers, magic performances, acrobats, and comedy. The cabaret appeared in Elvis Presley's 1964 film "Viva Las Vegas." The event launched Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn as magicians.

Today, a Tropicana-named road crosses the site at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. It is surrounded by Las Vegas' megaresorts. However, the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights and the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders, who moved from Oakland, California, in 2020, are nearby. Under the Tropicana, a ballpark is scheduled for 2028. “There’s a lot of controversy as to whether it should stay or go,” Seumala remarked. My favorite thing about Vegas is that it's continually changing.  

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