More than 70 years after the first Horseshoe casino emerged in downtown Las Vegas, the historic brand is returning to its hometown – this time at the center of the Strip.
Caesars Entertainment Inc. plans to transform Bally’s Las Vegas into a Horseshoe casino through a multimillion-dollar renovation project starting this spring. The rebranding will allow the World Series of Poker to reunite with the Horseshoe brand – its original home – after more than a dozen years at the 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. "To be able to bring the Horseshoe brand to the Las Vegas Strip at the most iconic intersection of Las Vegas is a perfect fit."
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What's in store for the property?
Horseshoe casinos are known across the country, 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 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. "We embraced that through all of our Horseshoes throughout the country. To have that tied 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 branching out to the exterior, casino floor 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 those might look like) as well as a revamped atmosphere on the casino floor.
"When you look at the other Horseshoes, the design is sophistication and elegance, but approachable," he said.
Caesars plans to have the project wrapped up by the end of this year, although 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 as the original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in 1973 before becoming Bally's in the mid-1980s.
The second transformation comes shortly after Caesars Entertainment began distancing itself from the Bally's name, selling the brand to a company formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings in 2020.
Gregorec said one of the most exciting components to the casino's rebranding is the World Series of Poker's 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 dozens of years in downtown Las Vegas and 17 years at the off-Strip Rio, the tournament is set to be held at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas from May 31 to July 19.
"I think it's going to be very exciting for the players of World Series poker to be actually on the Las Vegas Strip," Gregorec said. "I think it'll elevate the prestige of the tournament."
Caesars plans to expand the property's poker room and brand it as a World Series of Poker room before the tournament’s opening.
"The original Horseshoe put poker on the map," Gregorec said. "It's important for us to reestablish that on the Las Vegas Strip. … When you go in there, you will definitely feel the World Series of Poker in images, upgraded 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 center-Strip assets.
Next year, visitors will be able to find a new Blake Shelton-tied entertainment venue, Ole Red, in front of the Horseshoe property at the Grand Bazaar Shops.
The casino operator also plans to refresh the entrance to Caesars Palace and will soon be adding three new restaurants to Paris Las Vegas: The Bedford by Martha Stewart this spring; a new Nobu restaurant and lounge in "early 2022"; and Vanderpump à Paris this winter.
"A lot of people refer to (the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road) as the 50-yard line," Gregorec said. "So it's important that we put something that's iconic and legendary to Las Vegas there. … As we continue to look at further opportunities and developments, we'll 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 to undergo renovations, become Horseshoe Las Vegas casino