20 Years of Tropicana

No matter the season, a flurry of nightlife revolves inside and out of Tropicana Evansville, Indiana’s first casino.

Formerly known as Casino Aztar, and often referred to as “The Boat,” “The City of Evansville” riverboat has transformed tremendously since opening 20 years ago at 421 N.W. Riverside Drive on Evansville’s riverfront.

“Tropicana Evansville has been an anchor in the Evansville community since its inception,” says Tropicana Director of Marketing Stacey McNeill. “With more than $550 million in direct and incentive payments to city, state, and local community projects, the face of our city has been ever-changing and Downtown Evansville would be much different than it is today.”

In 1993 Vanderburgh County residents passed a referendum allowing riverboat gambling, and construction on the boat. The site where Tropicana and its coinciding district sit currently was once empty. Two years later, in 1995, Aztar Corp. docked the first gaming riverboat in Indiana and opened the casino to the public.

In 1996, the Casino Aztar Pavilion and Casino Aztar Hotel opened to the public. Casino Aztar Hotel, now known as Tropicana Hotel, features 243 guest rooms, 11 suites, a 1,660 vehicle-parking garage, meeting, conference and banquet facilities, and a fitness room.

The casino took a break from the ongoing improvements until 2005, when construction on The District, the area of nightlife surrounding the casino, began. Along with this construction came Ri Ra Irish Pub, Jillian’s Billiards Club, the Le Merigot Hotel, and Blush Ultralounge. Over the years, new restaurants have been introduced. In 2012, a pedestrian bridge was built to connect The District to the casino.

By 2013, Casino Aztar was no more. Tropicana Entertainment Inc. purchased the ownership in 2010 and owned the casino for three years before making the official name change.

In November, Tropicana Entertainment announced its multi-million dollar plan for a land-based casino development project that would involve construction of a 75,000-square-foot single-level casino and entertainment facility situated between Tropicana Hotel and the Le Merigot.

Tropicana anticipates the groundbreaking to occur in the first quarter of this year.

For more information about Tropicana Evansville, call 812-433-4000 or visit tropevansville.com.

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