Updated January 26, 2022 - 7:30 pm
The legendary casino brand Horseshoe will make its return to Las Vegas this year, more than 70 years after Benny Binion opened the original iconic gambling hall in downtown Las Vegas
Caesars Entertainment announced Wednesday that Bally’s Las Vegas will be rebranded into Horseshoe Las Vegas, bringing the brand that helped make poker famous to the heart of the Strip.
“At Horseshoe, it’s all about the gambler. Since 1951 Horseshoe Casinos have been home to the best odds, highest limits, and biggest jackpots. So, it’s fitting that we bring Horseshoe back to Las Vegas, and right on the Las Vegas Strip,” Jason Gregorec, senior vice president and general manager of the property, said in a statement. “Holding to the Horseshoe tradition of providing impeccable service, our guests will see the property transform over time, ensuring we aren’t disrupting the excitement while we make the transition.”
Return of iconic brand
Work will begin this spring and will include a renovated exterior, new entertainment and food and beverage choices, and a reimagined casino floor and public areas, much of which will feature the return of the brand’s signature gold horseshoe iconography. The multimillion-dollar renovation is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“Bringing the Horseshoe brand back to life in Las Vegas allows us to celebrate both our history and our future,” Caesars Entertainment Regional President Sean McBurney said in a statement. “2022 starts a new era for the Caesars Entertainment empire in Las Vegas, one being heralded by the return of Horseshoe.”
UNLV ombudsman and gaming historian David Schwartz said the rebranding is a way for Caesars to assert the property’s identity as a gambler’s destination, even as gaming continues to expand across the U.S.
“People still think of gambling when they think of Las Vegas,” he said. “The Horseshoe is a great brand; it’s been in operation for decades. So when people come to the Horseshoe, they’ll know what to expect.”
Brand that Jack built
Binion, the famed Texas gambling magnate and horse trader, opened the original Horseshoe Club in downtown Las Vegas in 1951.
Jack Binion, Benny’s son, became president of the Horseshoe in the 1960s and helped to develop the property into the Las Vegas icon that would become known as the preeminent spot for gamblers in town.
Under Jack Binion’s direction, the brand expanded across the country over the years, with Horseshoe Casinos today in Baltimore, Indiana, Mississippi and Louisiana.
The Horseshoe brand and properties were sold in 2004 to Harrah’s Entertainment, which changed the property’s name to Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel. Harrah’s, which would later become Caesars Entertainment, sold the casino to MTR Gaming, but kept the rights to the Horseshoe and World Series of Poker names.
Schwartz said people always expected the Horseshoe brand to come back to Las Vegas at some point, and that “Bally’s was always a natural place for that to happen.” But in bringing it home, Caesars has an obligation to uphold the legacy that Jack Binion built, he added.
“I think it’s important to mention the respect that he has as an operator. And if you build a casino with the Horseshoe name, you really are beholden to the Jack Binion philosophy of customer service and high standards,” Schwartz said.
WSOP to come back to Horseshoe
The name change also signals more than just one reunion in Las Vegas.
The very first World Series of Poker was held at the Horseshoe back in 1970. After nearly two decades of being held off the Strip, the 2022 World Series of Poker is set to be held at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas from May 31 to July 19.
“We couldn’t be more excited to see the World Series of Poker return to Horseshoe,” said Ty Stewart, senior Vice President and executive director of the World Series of Poker. “Horseshoe is where it all began for WSOP. It’s always been a brand for gamblers and card players. As we move WSOP to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time, that it will happen at Horseshoe makes it incredibly special.”
Originally opened by Kirk Kerkorian in 1973 as the MGM Grand, Bally Manufacturing purchased the property in 1986 and rebranded it to Bally’s. It was sold to Hilton Hotels in 1996 before it would change hands once again when Harrah’s (now Caesars Entertainment) purchased it in 2005.
In 2020, Caesars sold the Bally’s brand to Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings, Inc., a move that fueled speculation that the company could be looking the sell the property. After merging with Eldorado Resorts Inc. in 2020, Caesars has said that it plans to sell off one of its eight Strip resorts, and analysts have looked at Bally’s and Planet Hollywood as the most likely candidates.
But Caesars’ newly unveiled plans to rebrand the resort all but nixes any chance that company would sell the property, said Schwartz.
”Horseshoe is one of their core brands, so I don’t think they would be investing this and turning it into the Horseshoe if they were going to turn around and sell it to someone else,” Schwartz said. “But you never know. In the casino business, if the price is right, people will sell anything.”
Contact Colton Lochhead at email@example.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead.