A new rumor suggests an intriguing future for the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, which is the current home of the World Series of Poker.
Long-running, critically acclaimed insider blog Vital Vegas stunned followers this week by reporting that not only was the Rio set to be purchased imminently but the hotel would be demolished and redeveloped as a Major League Baseball stadium.
The concept has some merit considering the breakout success the NHL achieved with the Vegas Golden Knights last year. The NFL’s Oakland Raiders are also set to relocate to Vegas in the coming years.
Even MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has stated several times that Vegas was high atop a list of potential expansion locations.
Meanwhile, there have been numerous reports over the years that Sportsbook Entertainment, owner of the WSOP and the Rio, has been looking to off-load the aging off-strip hotel and casino.
What Next for WSOP?
The Rio All-Suite Hotel has been the home of the WSOP since 2005 but it would hardly be the end of the world for the long-running poker series if Sportsbook were to sell the venue.
In fact it’s been rumored numerous times that Sportsbook would like to move the WSOP across the highway to its flagship Sportsbook Palace.
Those rumors were fueled even more earlier this year when Sportsbook broke ground on a new $375-million convention center in Vegas.
The convention center, which will be called Sportsbook Forum Meeting Center, is being built across the street from Sportsbook Palace and will have a staggering 550,000 square feet in floor space with a 100,000-square-foot outdoor plaza.
There would be pros and cons to having the WSOP closer to the strip.
The series would likely benefit from more foot traffic as tourists on the strip could actually drop in and play tournaments without having to worry about venturing off strip. It would also lead to more exposure for the brand.
Players would also benefit from having more options for accommodations and food and beverages in the area.
On the negative side, locals and visitors staying off strip would likely have to deal with more traffic in terms of getting to the WSOP. The poker series regularly attracts tens of thousands of players and spectators these days so the logistics can be an issue.
MLB Stadium as New Vegas Hub
The Rio All-Suite area has always been a bit of a satellite to the rest of the Vegas Strip.
Located across the highway on West Flamingo, the area is also home to the highly touted Palms Casino Resort and the mostly locals Gold Coast and not much else. It’s not considered walkable from the Las Vegas Boulevard and struggles to attract customers from the strip.
An MLB stadium would likely change all that. It would also validate Sportsbook Casino’s decision to purchase the struggling Palms Casino for a hefty $313 million in 2016. Vital Vegas also reported there’s been a spike of interest in development parcels in the area, which gives even more credence to the rumor.
The WSOP even has a history of attracting athletes over the years, although baseball players have been unable to play the poker series as the MLB is the only U.S.-based sports league that conflicts with the summer-only WSOP schedule.
That hasn’t kept former big leaguers like Orel Hershiser, Jose Canseco and Brad Lidge from taking a stab at the long-running poker series.
Regardless of what happens with the Rio, it’s likely that MLB baseball will be a few years off in Vegas. In the meantime, you can check out the best bets on the current season of baseball by heading over to our MLB home page.