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Rumor Mill: Las Vegas' Rio Casino Could Be Demolished To Make Way For MLB Stadium

Could An MLB Franchise Replace Poker's Vegas Home?

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Rumors surrounding a potential sale of Caesars’ Rio casino-hotel located less than a mile from the Las Vegas Strip have existed for years, but a fresh one has surfaced this week.

According to the Las Vegas-based blog VitalVegas, there’s a “new rumor” that the casino that has hosted the annual World Series of Poker for more than a decade could be sold and then demolished to make way for an MLB team in Sin City.

Las Vegas already has an NHL team, and the Oakland Raiders are set to move to the gambling hub upon completion of a nearly $2 billion stadium. Thanks to the proliferation of sports betting across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s mid-May gutting of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the major sports leagues have greatly warmed to legalized gambling. Major League Baseball could be interested in a franchise in the Silver State.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said on the The Dan Patrick Show early this year that “Vegas is a viable expansion alternative.” Manfred is eyeing 32 franchises, up from 30.

“There’s been a spike in investor interest in parcels around Rio,” VitalVegas claimed on its Twitter account. “The speculation part: If an MLB ballpark plan is in the works, it’s an ‘Aha’ moment for why Stations has invested so much in the [nearby] Palms [casino] when it can’t possibly recoup the investment—unless they know something we don’t.”

In late August, the blog doubled down on a claim that the WSOP will move to the Caesars Forum convention center sometime after the $375 million complex opens in 2020. The WSOP, which saw record turnout in 2018, publicly denied that claim.

The WSOP was born at Binion’s in Downtown Las Vegas and moved to the Rio in 2005 after Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars) acquired the brand.

Rumors of the WSOP moving to a different Caesars casino have popped up here and there for years with no sale of the Rio ever coming to fruition. PokerStars, the world’s largest poker site, claimed in 2013 that Caesars offered it the Rio and the WSOP itself. Just three years earlier, rumors of a potential Rio sale pegged the casino’s value at $500 million.