The World Series of Poker could be heading for a new home – with the news breaking from the most unlikely of sources.
The Valley National 8-Ball League Association (VNEA), which claims to be one of the largest amateur pool competitions in the world, have revealed that they will be moving their annual championships from their traditional Bally’s home in Las Vegas as of next year.
Why? Because they have been kicked out to allow the brand to host the WSOP instead!
“VNEA’s long-term contract with Bally’s Hotel & Casino was suddenly cancelled by Bally’s as a result of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) moving from Rio to the Bally’s/Paris properties in 2022 and beyond,” a punctuation-less statement on their Facebook page read.
There has been no response on the rumours from the WSOP, who have hosted their annual money-spinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino since 2005.
The resort will welcome thousands of poker pros and amateurs for the annual World Series of Poker from September 30, although the speculation arising from the pool league’s ill-timed social media post would suggest it’s the last time they may do so.
A New Era for the WSOP?
Most that have played in the WSOP have enjoyed their time at the Rio, and with its expansive size and huge rooms it has been the perfect host for an event it has welcomed for nearly two decades.
Indeed, the only aberration since 2005 was last year’s WSOP, which of course was hampered.
However, it has been hinted that the new owners of the Rio – the New York property firm Imperial Companies – are not quite as sweet on the World Series. They acquired the Rio for a cool $516 million back in September 2019.
The VP of corporate communications for the WSOP, Seth Palansky, denied back then that the sale of the resort would impact upon their hosting, and even confirmed in an interview with CardPlayer that the 2021 edition would be held there – stating ‘these things are booked and resolved years in advance.’
That said, there was no mention of the 2022 edition – with the sale of the Rio and the pandemic two rather large happenings since that interview.
The matter is complicated by the complex agreement between Imperial and Caesars, who operate the Rio. The casino giant has retained the rights to host the WSOP in a covenant signed as part of Imperial’s takeover of the Rio, while paying $45 million per year in rent to the real estate company.
Imperial can also pay Caesars $7 million to extend that agreement for a third year, however – if the rumours are true – it has been said that they will instead rebrand the resort as a Hyatt Regency.
Bally’s, another Caesars property, is located around a mile away from the Rio, and it certainly has the scale to host the WSOP with 175,000 sq ft of floor space covering the main plot and the adjoining Paris Casino.
With eight restaurants, a nightclub, three bars, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a golf course all on the site, poker fanatics will not be short of things to do between events if the WSOP does move there.