WSOP 2021 live series of 88 events will be hosted at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino from September 30th. But some rumors have been heard on social media that the 2021 series will be the last WSOP event to be hosted in Rio. The Rio All-Suite is not the most luxurious or the most glamorous of hotels in Las Vegas. But it has been hosting all WSOP live events right from 2005, so it is one of the most historically significant venues in poker history. But rumors about a shift out of the Rio had already started in 2019. This was when Imperial Companies of New York bought the property for $516.3 million in September 2019.
But Seth Palansky, WSOP Vice President, Corporate Communications, immediately spoke out against these rumors by stating that WSOP 2020 would go ahead in Rio itself. Palansky also assured that even the 2021 series would also be hosted at Rio. But then the pandemic hit, and the 2020 live series was never conducted. The 2021 WSOP live series will be conducted at the Rio from September 30th to November 23rd. But rumors about WSOP’s shift to Bally’s started circulating soon after WSOP 2021 dates were announced. The Valley National 8-Ball League Association (VNLA) announced suddenly on its Facebook page that it would have to host its 2022 series at a new location instead of its traditional venue of Bally’s because Bally’s had signed a new contract to host WSOP from 2022.
The VNLA will move to Westgate Las Vegas from 2022 onwards. But WSOP officials have not yet confirmed or denied the claims made by VNLA. As per the original deal by which Imperial purchased Rio, Caesar’s was allowed to retain their hold over operations for two years by paying $45 million as rent each year. This deal could also be extended for longer by Imperial paying $7 million to Caesars. But Imperial is believed to have chosen not to make that payment. They are instead going to develop Rio as a new Hyatt Regency Hotel. Hyatt had announced in March of 2021 that the Rio would be refurbished into a full-fledged Hyatt brand hotel.
In 2019, the rumor mills had claimed that WSOP could move to the Caesar’s Convention Center. But now, the move to Bally’s seems like the more likely possibility. Bally’s is a 175,000 sq ft Caesar’s property connected to another Caesar’s property Paris which has 140,000 sq ft floor space. Players attending WSOP will be able to freely move across both these properties and utilize all the rooms and facilities of both Bally’s and Caesar’s.