Bally’s Letters Removed From Las Vegas Strip

Posted on: August 23, 2022, 04:37h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2022, 12:50h.

The letters B-A-L-L-Y-S were removed from the Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday with surprisingly little ballyhoo. A photo revealed the historic revision tweeted by @HorseshoeLasVegas, the new property name occupying the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.

Bally's letters removed Las Vegas Striop
A 10-foot tall “L” hangs dislodged from the casino hotel it has adorned since 1986. Bally’s will now be known as Horseshoe Las Vegas. (Image: Horseshoe Las Vegas)

Caesars Entertainment announced the name change in a press release in January, calling it part of a multimillion-dollar renovation. The statement said then that the change “will bring back to life the Horseshoe brand in Las Vegas in a manner that celebrates its history and future.”

Horseshoe will be the third name for the casino hotel, which opened as the original MGM Grand in 1973 and reopened as Bally’s in 1986.

The rebrand serves to play the casino hotel’s role, which began this May, as the new host of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Binion’s Horseshoe was the original name of Binion’s Gambling Hall in downtown Las Vegas, which launched the WSOP in 1970.

Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, acquired the Horseshoe gaming brand in 2004. It was part of its $5.2 billion acquisition of Caesars and Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. While the newly formed casino giant opted to sell Binion’s, the new Caesars maintained control of the Horseshoe trademark and the WSOP.

Tragic Beginning

The casino hotel known for the past 36 years as Bally’s began life as the original MGM Grand. When it opened in 1973 with more than 2,100 hotel rooms, the resort was known as one of the world’s largest hotels.

After Nov. 21, 1980, it was also known as the site of one of the world’s worst hotel fires. The blaze claimed the lives of 87 people and changed fire codes throughout Nevada and the nation.

The Las Vegas Fire Marshal recommended the installation of automatic sprinklers. However, these weren’t required by law and would have added only $200,000 to the $106 million cost to build the MGM Grand in 1972-73. The hotel refused to add the sprinklers, and the Clark County Building Department took its side, stating that because the building operated 24/7, automatic sprinklers were not required throughout the premises.

The MGM Grand reopened eight months after the fire with automatic sprinklers and a fire alarm system throughout the property. (Thanks to the fire, these were now legally required.) As part of a $50 million remodel, a second 26-story tower was added later in 1981. But visitation slumped because of bad publicity from the fire and years of ensuing litigation. (The MGM Grand agreed to pay $140 million to 1,357 survivors or their relatives.)

In April 1986, the hotel was sold, along with the MGM Grand Reno, to pinball and slot machine maker Bally Manufacturing.

Bally’s Name to Rebound?

In 2020, after merging with Eldorado Resorts as part of a separate $17.3 billion transaction, Caesars sold its Bally’s brand to a company then known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings. Twin River has since rebranded to Bally’s Corporation, and this new Bally’s purchased the Tropicana from Gaming and Leisure Properties for $308 million this year.

That’s a lot to digest. But this probably isn’t the permanent end of the Bally’s name on the Strip. It is likely to move a mile southward. (What is a good bet to end is the Tropicana name.)