Could the upcoming $375 million state-of-the-art convention center called Caesars Forum be home to the World Series of Poker in the near future?
That’s the rumor according to Las Vegas-based blog VitalVegas. The blog reported the rumor earlier this month, which drew a denial from the WSOP. On Monday, the blog doubled down on the reporting that an “insider” is saying Caesars is planning to sell the off-strip Rio casino-hotel, the current home of the world’s premier poker festival.
“Previously shared Rio sale rumor looks like the real deal,” the report said. “Caesars highly motivated to cut her loose, insider confirms three viable entities circling. Aftermath of sale will include move of WSOP to Caesars Forum convention center, despite denials.”
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.
Discounting potential parking concerns, hosting the WSOP at Caesars Forum could make sense thanks to the growing popularity of the WSOP. The poker festival saw a record 123,865 entries from a record 78 bracelet events this year. The main event turnout of 7,874 unique players was the second most in WSOP history, trailing only 2006’s field. Hosting the WSOP in a space accessible by foot for Las Vegas Strip visitors could potentially grow participation. The one-mile walk from the Strip to the Rio in the sweltering Las Vegas summer heat isn’t very enticing.
The Rio Convention Center is home to 160,000 square feet of “flexible” meeting space. Caesars Forum, which will be located slightly east of the Las Vegas Strip behind Harrah’s, LINQ and the LINQ Promenade, will have 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.
For poker players familiar with the WSOP, the Amazon ballroom contains nearly 40,000 square feet. The Pavilion ballroom has nearly 55,000.
Caesars Forum, slated to open in 2020, will have two 108,000 square-foot ballrooms and two 40,000 square-foot ballrooms. Below is a rendering of one of the ballrooms.