More than 70 years after the first Horseshoe casino came into existence in downtown Las Vegas, the historic brand returns to its birthplace – this time in the center of the Strip.
Caesars Entertainment Inc. plans to turn Bally’s Las Vegas into a Horseshoe casino this spring through a multimillion-dollar renovation project. The rebrand will allow the World Series of Poker to reunite with the Horseshoe brand – its original home – after more than a dozen years in Rio.
“The Horseshoe brand is the most legendary brand in gaming,” Jason Gregorec, senior vice president and general manager of the property, told USA TODAY. “It’s a perfect fit to bring the Horseshoe brand to the Las Vegas Strip at Las Vegas’ most iconic intersection.”
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What awaits the property?
Horseshoe casinos are well known across the country, with properties in Maryland, Illinois, Louisiana, Iowa, and Mississippi.
Founded by Texas gaming icon and casino mogul Benny Binion and later run by his son, Jack Binion, the brand is often associated with its customer service.
“(Jack Binion) created a casino for the gambler and the player, and that’s what he was known for: the best odds, the highest limit, the biggest jackpots,” said Gregorec, who began working with the property in 2020. have embraced that by all our horseshoes across the country. That that’s connected to Las Vegas will resonate well with our guests and players and new players who can experience that on the Las Vegas Strip.”
Renovations on the 2,810-room property will begin this spring with the poker room, before expanding to the exterior, casino floor and other public areas.
Hotel rooms are not included in the renovation project and remain open for booking.
Guests can expect a new tent, three new restaurants, three new “attractions and experiences” (Gregorec declined to go into detail about what those might look like), as well as a revamped casino floor atmosphere.
“If you look at the other horseshoes, the design is sophistication and elegance, but approachable,” he said.
Caesars plans to complete the project by the end of this year, though Gregorec said supply chain issues could affect the timeline.
World Series of Poker returns to Horseshoe
This won’t be the first name change for the nearly 50-year-old property, which opened in 1973 as the original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino before becoming Bally’s in the mid-1980s.
The second transformation comes shortly after Caesars Entertainment began to move away from the Bally name and sold the brand in 2020 to a company formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
Gregorec said one of the most exciting parts of the casino’s rebranding is the World Series of Poker reunion with Horseshoe. The original Horseshoe casino – what is now Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel – hosted the first World Series of Poker in 1970.
After decades in downtown Las Vegas and 17 years on the off-Strip Rio, the tournament will be held at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas from May 31 to July 19.
“I think it’s going to be really exciting for World Series poker players to actually be on the Las Vegas Strip,” Gregorec said. “I think it will increase the prestige of the tournament.”
Caesars plans to expand the property’s poker room and rebrand it as a World Series of Poker room before the tournament opens.
“The original Horseshoe put poker on the map,” said Gregorec. “It’s important for us to restore that on the Las Vegas Strip. … When you go in there, you will definitely feel the World Series of Poker in visuals, enhanced experiences, tables and chairs.”
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Gregorec noted that the property renovations are just one of many changes Caesars is making to its downtown Strip assets.
Next year, visitors will be able to find a new Blake Shelton-bound entertainment venue, Ole Red, in front of the Horseshoe property in the Grand Bazaar Shops.
The casino operator also plans to revamp the entrance to Caesars Palace and will soon add three new restaurants to Paris Las Vegas: Martha Stewart’s The Bedford this spring; a new Nobu restaurant and lounge in “early 2022”; and Vanderpump à Paris this winter.
“A lot of people call (the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road) the 50-yard line,” Gregorec said. “So it’s important that we bring something iconic and legendary to Las Vegas there. … As we continue to look at further opportunities and developments, we will build on that.”
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.