Breaking Down the Action:
  • Will Bally’s Become the Horseshoe in Time for the World Series of Poker?  
  • Bally’s Lasts Almost Half a Century... or Does It?
  • World Series Embraces History to Guide Its Future

4 Minute Read

The Horseshoe has been a name associated with poker's history since 1970 but now looks set to be a big part of its future too.

This year, the World Series of Poker moves from the Rio in Las Vegas to two properties, as the greatest poker festival in the world arrives at Bally’s and Paris to create more history.

With the ink barely dry on the contract, however, it has been announced that Bally’s will be rebranded as The Horseshoe by the end of this year.

Will Bally’s Become the Horseshoe in Time for the World Series of Poker?

While Bally’s will undergo a complete renovation as the rebranding process begins, it is not thought that the work will be completed by the time the World Series of Poker (WSOP) kicks off on May 29th this year. That big kick-off, in less than 120 days, will still be split between Bally’s/Horseshoe and Paris at the time of going to press.

The Horseshoe is, of course, not a new name to poker fans. The Horseshoe was the name of the casino until 2004 when it was renamed Binion’s Gambling Hall, which isn’t nearly as catchy, nor does it have a natural connotation with good fortune.

Bally’s, one of the oldest Las Vegas resorts that have been in operation since 1973, will become the Horseshoe in time for — as a worst-case scenario – the 2023 WSOP.

Bally’s Lasts Almost Half a Century… or Does It?

The name of Bally’s has been around since 1986, but the building that now has that name was previously the MGM Grand across the way from Caesar’s Palace in early December 1973. Bally’s actually falls short of a half-century in Vegas history books by over a decade as a result by the time the rebranding work has been completed.

The MGM Grand experienced a terrible fire in its formative years but survived and was bought out by Bally Gaming and changed its name to Bally’s, with the MGM Grand itself transferring further down the Strip. Bally’s became known as one of the best value hotels that you stay in for those on a budget.

Since then, Bally’s has survived the turn of a century, an economic recession, and a global pandemic. The strength of the brand and location are both huge and it’s believed that the name change will change nothing given how popular the casino is with regular Vegas tourists. Indeed, the attendances at last year’s live Rio-based World Series of Poker appear to have convinced everyone that whether Bally’s or Horseshoe is the name above the entrance, plenty of footfall will come the WSOP’s way in May.

World Series Embraces History to Guide Its Future

Until last year, the WSOP was hosted by Rio for 17 years (16 series taking place with no festival in 2020). Before 2004, however, Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas was ‘the home of poker’. Jack Binion, the son of convicted criminal Benny Binion, transformed the venue and introduced the WSOP, with the help of some of the best players of the time, such as Doyle Brunson.

Selling the venue to sister Becky in 1998, the brand of the Horseshoe looked to have lost for good when federal agents seized assets totaling over a million dollars in 2003 and Harrah’s bought out the brand (and lost the name) the following year.

The latest thrilling development in Las Vegas’ chequered history will see a ‘renovated exterior, new entertainment and food and beverage options, and a reimagined casino floor and public areas’ part of the effort to modernize a casino that has seen off so much in its time. With a total of nine Horseshoes around the country once the Sin City venue is complete, the brand of Horseshoe, once thought lost to the gambling capital of the world, now looks set to be front and center when the Word Series of Poker rolls into town in a few months’ time.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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