Major League Baseball Stadium Could Replace former World Series of Poker Site

oakland baseball poker wsop

For the past four years, led by Las Vegas blogger Scott Roeben (Vital Vegas), rumors have spread about the Oakland A's relocating to Sin City, and specifically to the long-time site of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) — the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

Those rumors are now beginning to seem more realistic given Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred's recent comments and following a report from the Las Vegas Review Journal and the NBC affiliate (KSNV) in Las Vegas.

By the Numbers: 17 Years of the WSOP at the Rio

Worst Stadium in Baseball

The A's, traditionally a competitive small-market franchise, have played in Oakland since relocating from Kansas City in 1968. But the team plays in what is almost universally accepted as the worst stadium in the league — Oakland Coliseum. Average attendance for the A's in 81 home games last year was at 9,912 fans per game, easily the lowest out of 30 MLB teams (the Los Angeles Dodgers led the league with an average of 47,671 fans per game, in comparison).

As such, A's owner John Fisher called upon the city of Oakland in the past few years to build his team a new stadium or he'll be forced to relocate the team elsewhere. Unfortunately, for baseball fans in the Bay Area — and, yes, they still exist despite the pitiful attendance — it doesn't appear that a deal on a proposed $1 billion waterfront stadium will ever come to fruition.

Speaking to Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on Sirius XM, Manfred wasn't optimistic about the likelihood of the A's remaining in Northern California. But that could be good news for baseball fans in Las Vegas.

"I think the A's have proceeded prudently in terms of exploring the Las Vegas alternative," Manfred said. "Given the lack of pace in Oakland, I think they have to look for an alternative."

Oakland city councilman Noel Gallo told reporters that he wants the team to stay in the Bay Area, but will not support taxpayer funding for a new stadium. Fisher has given the city an ultimatum, and that is to pay for a new stadium or the A's will do exactly as the Oakland Raiders NFL franchise did in 2020 when they moved to Las Vegas.

oakland a's poker wsop
No, it wasn't "Dress as a Seat Day" at Oakland Colisum for this 2022 game. (Image courtesy Twitter)

With that in mind, and even commissioner Manfred has said as much, a move to Las Vegas is becoming more likely. On Wednesday, reports indicated that the A's were considering two Las Vegas locations — the Tropicana site on the south end of the Strip and the Las Vegas Festival grounds on the north end of the Strip.

But on Thursday, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported the team is also considering building a ballpark at a third site — the Rio, which is owned by Dreamscape Companies LLC, but still operated by Caesars Entertainment.

Iconic Poker Site to Become a Baseball Stadium?

The Rio is one of the most historical venues in poker as it served as the WSOP's home from 2005-2021 before moving to Bally's (now Horseshoe Las Vegas) on the Strip in 2022. Some of the most iconic moments in poker history took place at the Rio, such as Doyle Brunson winning his 10th WSOP bracelet in 2005 and Daniel Negreanu losing on a bad beat to bust from the 2015 Main Event just short of the final table.

One potential obstacle, and it's a major one, to bringing Major League Baseball to the former WSOP site is that Dreamscape has reportedly been seeking an $850 million Rio renovation project.

But on Friday, Las Vegas' NBC affiliate, KSNV, reported that a spokesperson for Dreamscape confirmed the company would entertain the idea of selling the land to the Oakland A's.

"The company has been engaged in a dialogue about a portion of the excess land at the Rio as a potential MLB ballpark for the past several years. The company remains open to this idea," the spokesperson said.

When Dreamscape purchased the Rio from Caesars Entertainment in 2019, the original plan was to renovate the casino hotel and rebrand it as a Hyatt, one of the top hotel chains in the United States.

Scott Roeben, who runs the popular Vital Vegas blog, has been making claims that the Rio could one day be torn down in place of a baseball stadium since 2018. He's received some criticism for what some have said to be pushing false rumors. But on Thursday, the avid gambler who doesn't particularly care much for sports took a victory lap on Twitter.

If baseball does indeed come to Las Vegas, it won't be within the next year or two. Building a stadium takes time, and putting together the funding won't be easy.

The 2023 Major League Baseball Spring Training season officially began on Tuesday with pitchers and catchers reporting in Arizona and Florida. Opening Day is scheduled for March 30. Oakland will start the season off at home with a three-game set against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani, the first true two-way (pitching and hitting) star since Babe Ruth, might be the only reason to lure fans to the Oakland Coliseum for that series. The A's figure to once again have the worst attendance in the league.

  • Find out about the rumors swirling around that the Oakland A's will be moving to the Rio land in Las Vegas.

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By the Numbers: 17 Years of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio By the Numbers: 17 Years of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio