WSOP Stays at Rio, Despite Sale Rumors

The sale of Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino has probably been the most persistent rumor in the modern history of Las Vegas.

That rumor has been swirling around for years and has most recently been fed by popular blog for everything Vegas-related Vital Vegas.

The Rio is currently owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp. The property is best known for being home to the annual World Series of Poker for over a decade now. Last year, Vital Vegas posted information that the off-Strip hotel and casino resort was extremely close to being sold and that the WSOP would likely be relocated to Caesars Forum, the $375 million convention center currently under development and set to open doors behind The LINQ and Bally’s in 2020.

Earlier this month, Vital Vegas tweeted that the “sale of Circus Circus should not distract from the fact Rio deal is finally being consummated!”

WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communications Seth Palansky responded to that tweet, saying that he “can 100% confirm [the WSOP] will take place at the Rio in Las Vegas in 2020.” Mr. Palansky, who has been part of the world’s longest-running live tournament poker series for the past 12 years, elaborated further on the rumors regarding the potential relocation of the WSOP in an interview with poker news outlet CardPlayer.

Rio Remains WSOP’s Home for at Least Two More Editions

Mr. Palansky said that the rumors about Rio’s sale and the WSOP’s relocation “sort of overlook the logistical challenges related to holding an event of this scale. He explained that in order to hold the popular poker series, they need to block out 62 days and that it is not easy to get 200,000 square feet of convention space for such a long period.

Mr. Palansky further noted that “you need years in advance to do that.” With that said, the poker official also pointed out that Rio’s convention space is booked years out for the WSOP and that the poker festival will most certainly take place at the property in 2020, and “people should feel confident that the 2021 WSOP will be at the Rio as well.”

Asked whether a potential Rio sale would affect the WSOP, Mr. Palansky said that it is up to the new owner to decide if they will honor existing contracts or not, and that “they can decide to allow something to happen or not and can decide to be embroiled in litigation or not.”

Mr. Palansky said that they love the Rio, the fact that it is an off-Strip property that is away from the congestion, and has an easy in and out access and easy parking.

So despite the rumors and the many protests of players that the WSOP should switch venues, it seems that the Rio will remain the series’ home for at least two more years. And it should also be noted that Mr. Palansky’s comments about the convenience of the property’s location do sound reasonable.

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