More than 70 years after the first Horseshoe Casino emerged in downtown Las Vegas, the historic brand returns to its hometown, this time to the center of the Strip.
Caesars Entertainment Inc. plans to turn Bally’s Las Vegas into a Horseshoe Casino through a multi-million dollar renovation project that will begin this spring. The rebranding will see the World Series of Poker return to the Horseshoe brand – its original home – after more than a dozen years at the Rio.
“The Horseshoe brand is the most legendary brand in the game,” Jason Gregorec, senior vice president and general manager of the property, told USA TODAY. “Being able to bring the Horseshoe brand to the Las Vegas Strip, at Las Vegas’ most iconic intersection, is a perfect choice.”
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What does the property reserve?
Horseshoe casinos are known nationwide, with properties in Maryland, Illinois, Louisiana, Iowa, and Mississippi.
The brand, founded by Texas gambling icon and casino magnate Benny Binion and later run by his son, Jack Binion, is often associated with its customer service.
“(Jack Binion) created a casino for the gambler and the gambler, and that’s what he was known for: best odds, highest limit, biggest jackpots,” said Gregorec, who has started working with the property in 2020. “We have adopted this across all of our Horseshoes across the country. Having this linked to Las Vegas will resonate well with our guests and players and new players who may experience this on the Las Vegas Strip .
Renovations to the 2,810-room property will begin this spring with the poker room, before expanding outdoors, to the casino and other public areas.
Hotel rooms will not be included in the renovation project and will remain open for booking.
Guests can expect to find a new marquee, three new restaurants, three new ‘attractions and experiences’ (Gregorec declined to go into detail on what they might look like) as well as a revamped atmosphere on the ground from the casino.
“When you look at the other Horseshoes, the design is sophisticated and sleek, yet approachable,” he said.
Caesars expects to complete the project by the end of this year, although Gregorec said supply chain issues could affect the schedule.
The World Series of Poker returns to Horseshoe
It won’t be the first name change for the nearly 50-year-old property, which opened as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in 1973 before becoming Bally’s in the mid-1980s.
The second transformation comes shortly after Caesars Entertainment began moving away from the Bally name, sell the brand to a company formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings in 2020.
Gregorec said one of the most exciting parts of the casino’s rebranding is the World Series of Poker reuniting with Horseshoe. The original Horseshoe Casino – now Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel – hosted the first world series of poker in 1970.
After decades in downtown Las Vegas and 17 years at off-Strip Rio, the tournament will be held at Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas from May 31-July 19.
“I think it will be very exciting for World Series poker players to be on the Las Vegas Strip,” Gregorec said. “I think it will enhance the prestige of the tournament.”
Caesars plans to expand the facility’s poker room and turn it into a World Series of Poker room before the tournament opens.
“The original Horseshoe put poker on the map,” Gregorec said. “It’s important to us to bring that back to the Las Vegas Strip. … When you walk in, you’ll definitely feel the World Series of Poker in pictures, enhanced experiences, tables and chairs.”
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Gregorec noted that the property’s 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-related entertainment venue, Ole Red, in front of the Horseshoe property in the shops of the Grand Bazaar.
The casino operator also plans to refresh input at Caesars Palace and will soon add three new restaurants in Paris Las Vegas: The Bedford by Martha Stewart this spring; a new Nobu restaurant and lounge in “early 2022”; and Vanderpump in 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 put something iconic and legendary in Las Vegas there. … As we continue to look for other opportunities and developments, we will continue to build on that.”
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bally’s will undergo renovations and become the Horseshoe Las Vegas casino