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SLS Las Vegas Rebranding to Iconic Strip Rat Pack Hangout Sahara Hotel & Casino

SLS Las Vegas, the fiscally troubled Strip casino resort, is reportedly reverting back to the brand that occupied its premises for 59 years, the Sahara Hotel & Casino.

SLS Las Vegas is said to be going back to its former Sahara roots. (Image: Vegas Changes)

The news comes from Vital Vegas, which is run by the city’s ear-to-the-ground blogger Scott Roeben. According to him, the property located at the north end of the Strip will revert back to its iconic brand, and do away with the infamous 32-foot tall Michelin Man-esque “blob” statue outside the front entrance.

Roeben writes, “Renaming SLS as Sahara is a brilliant move. It plays upon the storied history of the casino, while saving a metric hell-ton of money by playing up an existing brand rather than trying to create a new one from scratch.”

SLS Las Vegas has yet to confirm the news that it will indeed undergo a rebranding.

SLS History

The Sahara Hotel & Casino underwent a $415 million conversion and opened as SLS Las Vegas in 2014. Developer Sam Nazarian said SLS stood for “style, luxury, and service.”

The north Strip location, however, impeded pedestrian traffic and led to difficult times for the resort. The 2015 closing of the Riviera certainly didn’t help – an iconic Strip property itself that was ultimately demolished in 2016 by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to make way for expansion of the city agency’s Global Business District.

SLS Las Vegas lost hundreds of millions of dollars in operation, prompting plenty of speculation that it was for sale. Indeed it was, as the Meruelo Group purchased the property in 2018.

Company CEO Alex Meruelo bought the troubled Grand Sierra Resort in Casino in Reno in 2011 and made it into a profitable venue. He pledged to the Nevada Gaming Control Board to do the same with SLS.

“I was told there was no way in hell that I would be able to turn the Grand Sierra around. If I can turn around the Grand Sierra Resort, I could do that at SLS,” Meruelo stated at the time.

Las Vegas Bermuda Triangle

The northern end of the Strip continues to struggle. In recent years, the area is where casinos have gone to die and projects stall.

SLS has struggled, the Lucky Dragon went bankrupt, the unfinished Fontainebleau is now The Drew but remains years away from opening, and Resorts World is also still incomplete.

Built at a cost of $165 million, the former Lucky Dragon was sold in April for just $36 million. Buyer Don Ahern says he plans to transform the property into a non-gaming hotel and conference center, and that he would “absolutely not” be keeping the name.

During the auction process, downtown Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens expressed interest in the resort. However, he told reporters, “I question whether or not it can be a viable casino location.”

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