The transformation is complete and Bally’s is no longer: Caesars Entertainment bigwigs and poker stars made it official and cut the ribbon on the newest horseshoe in their collection, it’s crown jewel on the Las Vegas Strip.
Doyle Brunson and Jack Binion took part in Friday’s ceremony, along with Jack Effel, the VP of the World Series of Poker, and others. Horseshoe Las Vegas and its sister property, Paris, will host its second WSOP this summer.
Binion, whose father Benny opened the original Horseshoe in 1951, presented a horseshoe on a plaque he said came from his family’s ranch.
It will hang and collect luck in the poker room, along with Poker Hall of Fame pictures and photos of Main Event champs, which have not yet been installed.
Tapping into history
Benny held the first WSOP at his downtown joint in 1970, and Jack ran the WSOP for 30 years. But after the casino failed in 2004, Harrah’s (which bought Caesars in 2005 and took its name) bought Binion’s Horseshoe solely to take ownership of the WSOP and Horseshoe brands. It was resold to MTR Gaming group within days, and reopened a month later, but without the WSOP and Horseshoe names attached.
The rebranding is part of a company-wide strategy that has its roots in the World Series of Poker and its original home.
The last two years saw Caesars Entertainment rebrand nine casinos in Maryland, Illinois, Louisiana, Iowa, and Mississippi to Horseshoes. All these properties have WSOP-themed poker rooms, where WSOP satellites will soon take place.
A lot of them also have Jack Binion’s steakhouses, just like the one on the Strip.
“The arrival of Horseshoe on the Strip marks a significant moment for Caesars Entertainment, the Horseshoe name ,and the entire destination,” said Jason Gregorec, General Manager of the property said in a press release. “Not only are we excited for guests to experience the redesigned resort and its latest offerings, but we are also proud to reintroduce the historic gaming brand to Las Vegas.”
Caesars Entertainment is calling its new style a “classic sophistication of the Horseshoe brand with design elements such as tooled leather, dramatic colors and the signature gold horseshoe iconography throughout the casino floor and public areas.”
Horseshoe Las Vegas has been open since December, and even hosted its first WSOP Circuit event in February, but “Grand Openings” in Las Vegas are often delayed.
The original hotel tower and casino was opened as MGM Grand in 1973, and was once the largest hotel and casino in the world. The original tower is the same as it is now.
In 1980, tragedy struck after a fire that started in a deli quickly engulfed the casino floor and filled the hotel with toxic smoke. More than 5,000 people were on the property at the time and 87 people died, mostly from smoke inhalation.
It was rebuilt for $50 million. In 1986, it was sold to Bally’s, who opened its sister property, Paris, in 1999. They eventually became part of the current ownership after Eldorado Resorts, Inc., completed the purchase of Caesars Entertainment in 2020.