Sun File Photo
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | 2 a.m.
For an industry often defined by similar offerings, from slot machines to swank nightclubs and signature cocktails, brand names are crucial to a casino’s identity. Every once in a while, names must change. Here are some of the more notable name changes among Las Vegas casinos over the past 30 years:
Photo by Submitted
The downtown property is in the final stages of rebranding to the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel. Why the D? It’s partly a reference to the nickname of new CEO and majority owner Derek Stevens, known as D. It’s also a nod to the downtown Las Vegas revitalization effort and a tribute to Detroit, the hometown of Stevens and his brother, Greg, the property’s co-owner.
MGM Grand changed its name to Bally’s after Kirk Kerkorian sold the property to Bally Entertainment Corp. in 1985.
Photo by Justin M. Bowen
MGM Grand Resort
Kerkorian changed the name of the Marina Hotel to the MGM-Marina Hotel, which eventually became part of the MGM Grand Resort that opened on the site in 1993.
Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon
Barbary Coast changed to Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon in 2007 in honor of Bill Harrah, the founder of Harrah’s Entertainment and the casino’s new owner. Harrah’s obtained the casino that year in a land swap with Boyd Gaming Corp., which traded the Barbary Coast for land next to Boyd’s now-defunct Stardust.
The Aladdin changed to Planet Hollywood in 2007 after investors, including Robert Earl, co-founder of restaurant chain Planet Hollywood International, bought the casino out of bankruptcy in 2003 and rebranded it as part of a top-down remodeling.
/Sun file photo
The Hotel San Remo, originally a Howard Johnson’s, changed to Hooters in 2006 after investors involved in the Hooters restaurant chain bought the casino in 2004.
Las Vegas Hilton
The International changed to the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971 after Hilton Hotels Corp. bought it. It's now known as LVH — Las Vegas Hotel & Casino after losing its rights to use its longtime name from trademark owner Hilton Worldwide.
Photo by Steve Marcus
Wynn Las Vegas
Steve Wynn initially intended to name Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2005, after a favorite Picasso painting entitled “Le Reve,” or “The Dream.” Wynn changed his mind before the property opened after advisers indicated that the public wouldn’t embrace the reference, instead naming it after himself.
The New Frontier changed names several times over the years under different owners. Over a period of more than 40 years, the property changed from the Last Frontier to the New Frontier to the Frontier, and then back to the New Frontier in 1998 when Phil Ruffin bought the property. Under new ownership, it was torn down in 2007 to make way for a new megaresort that has yet to materialize.
Mirage changed its name to the Glass Pool Inn after Wynn bought the Mirage name for his first Strip megaresort in 1988. The Glass Pool Inn, known for its above ground swimming pool with windows affording underwater views, was demolished in 2006.
Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel
Binion’s Horseshoe, or the Horseshoe, changed its name to Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel after Harrah’s Entertainment bought and immediately resold the casino to new owners in 2004, but retained the rights to the Horseshoe brand and the casino’s World Series of Poker tournament.
The Plaza Hotel was known as the Union Plaza until 2000. It opened as the Union Plaza in 1971, after the nearby Union Pacific rail depot, and became Jackie Gaughan’s Union Plaza in the 1980s before Gaughan sold it.
Photo by Steve Marcus