Harrah's Entertainment becomes Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Harrah's Entertainment on Tuesday officially changed its name to Caesars Entertainment Corp., a move the company first considered more than two years ago.

The name Harrah's will remain as one of the company's primary casino brands, along with Caesars and Horseshoe. The company also operates the World Series of Poker and the Total Rewards player loyalty program.

Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said the name change reflects the company's luxury brand. In addition to Caesars Palace on the Strip, the company operates Caesars-branded casinos in Atlantic City and Windsor, Ontario.

The company also placed the name Caesars on a golf course it acquired in Macau in 2007 for $577.7 million.

"This rebranding of the corporate name can open exciting new opportunities for us in the future," Loveman said. "The change reflects our evolution as the industry's leading provider of branded casino entertainment."

Harrah's acquired Caesars Entertainment Inc. in June 2005 in a $9 billion buyout, which at the time was the gaming industry's largest acquisition. The company announced plans to change its name to Caesars in April 2008, but never followed through.

Kathryn LaTour, an associate professor of hospitality marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the name "Caesars" has far more high-end connotations than Harrah's, which made its mark attracting midlevel gamblers.

"I heard the company conducted some brand research and found that the Caesars name was much stronger internationally," LaTour said. "The company has done a great job regionally with the Harrah's brand. Caesars is a name that is much more globally respected."

The name change follows a switch earlier this year by MGM Resorts International, which dropped the name MGM Mirage in order to reflect its international hotel and casino holdings.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is also considering a name change to reflect its presence internationally.

LaTour said name changes take time to resonate with the public.

"In one aspect, it's superficial, but this will allow the company to go after a different market since it will be perceived as being more high-end," LaTour said.

Harrah's-now-Caesars, which was taken private in January 2008 in a $29 billion private equity buyout, canceled a planned $610 million stock sale last week that would have returned about 9 percent of the company to the public markets.

Company revenues have fallen from a peak of $10.8 billion in 2007 to $8.9 billion last year, an 18 percent decline. Caesars said its net loss shrank to $164.8 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 from a loss of $1.62 billion a year earlier.

Caesars operates 10 Strip casinos, including Caesars Palace, Bally's, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, and Harrah's, along with the off-Strip Rio.

The company is considered the world's largest casino operator with 53 properties in six countries.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.