11 of Las Vegas’ most notable casino name changes

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The Hilton hotel chain put the Las Vegas Hilton on notice last month that it intends to terminate its license agreement with the casino Jan. 1, which would force the property to give up the name it has held since the 1970s. Prior to being named the Las Vegas Hilton, the hotel was known as The International.

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:

  • Fitzgeralds

    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.

  • Bally's

    MGM Grand changed its name to Bally’s after Kirk Kerkorian sold the property to Bally Entertainment Corp. in 1985.

  • 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.

  • Planet Hollywood

    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.

  • Hooters

    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.

  • 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.

  • New Frontier

    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

    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.

  • Plaza Hotel

    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.

  • Lady Luck

    In October 2011, the owners of the Lady Luck announced the shuttered hotel-casino would be reopened as the Downtown Grand under an agreement with the city to complete at least $100 million in renovations to the establishment by Sept. 30, 2013.

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  1. I enjoyed reading this story. I really enjoy learning more about the Las Vegas history. Hope to read more stories like this in the future.

  2. Great piece- as an addition, the hotel currently called Hooters was also the Treasury, 20th Century and Paradise between HoJo's and San Remo.

  3. Great article, The MGM to Bally's name change probably had a lot to do with the fire and the publicity over that.
    One very noticeable name missing from this list: Bob Stupak's Vegas World, which changed it's name to Stratosphere after ther tower was built in the 1990's.
    Others: Boomtown to Silverton, Maxim to whatever it is now, South Coast to South Point.......

  4. Not only is this an excellent article, but the comments are just as entertaining and informative. I have been visiting Vegas since the middle 70s and did not know some of the venues. A truckload of my exciting and joyful Vegas memories are associated with those old names. Thanks for the article.