In the grand scheme of things, Las Vegas hasn’t been around that long. It has managed to cover a lot of ground when it comes to the names of its casinos, though.
Casinos are bought, sold, rebranded, imploded and rebuilt. Along the way, they often change names.
Here, then, are a hastily slapped-together batch of Las Vegas casinos formerly named something else. And in some cases, several something elses.
1. Planet Hollywood Was Tally Ho
That’s right, Planet Hollywood was originally the Tally Ho. After that, the hotel was called King’s Crown, then the more familiar Aladdin Resort & Casino. Are we having fun yet, we asked, rhetorically?
We get the weird feeling we mainly wrote this blog post to show off some of our casino photos.
2. Westgate Was the International
The hotel we now know as Westgate opened in 1969 as the International Hotel. For years, it was known as the Las Vegas Hilton. For a minute, it was LVH, or Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Hey, naming things is hard.
We were there the day the LVH’s letters came down and the Westgate sign went up.
3. SLS Las Vegas Was Sahara
SLS Las Vegas is a relatively recent development. For nearly 60 years, 1952 to 2011, it was the Sahara Hotel and Casino. You’ll never guess which we like more, “hotel” or “casino.”
Some days we sort of miss the Sahara’s fancy porte-cochere.
4. Harrah’s Was Holiday Casino
Never heard of Holiday Casino? Well, you’re in good company. The Holiday Casino came to be in 1973, thanks to Shelby and Claudine Williams, former owners of a classic Vegas casino, the Silver Slipper. Harrah’s got its name in 1992.
The Holiday casino had a riverboat theme, while Harrah’s has a Mardi Gras theme. Someday, we hope to do a story about themes that were formerly other themes.
5. MGM Grand Was Marina Hotel
What’s now on big-ass hotel, MGM Grand, got its start as the Marina Hotel and Casino. The Marina opened in 1975. Later, the hotel was called the MGM-Marina Hotel. The Marina closed in 1990, but still exists as the west wing of the MGM Grand.
MGM Grand is the largest hotel in the United States. If you slept in all 5,044 of the rooms at MGM Grand, all in one night, you would have both multiple restraining orders and severe chafing.
6. The D Was Sundance Hotel
Lots of folks know downtown’s D Las Vegas was previously a casino called Fitzgerald’s. Before that, though, it was the Sundance Hotel. The Sundance opened in 1980 on land owned by a mobster named Moe Dalitz. Later, Sundance became The Fitz, and eventually it was owned by Don Barden, the first African-American casino owner in Las Vegas.
How weird is it we appear to have never taken a photo of the exterior of Fitzgerald’s, but we somehow have a photo of the carpet?
7. Stratosphere Was Vegas World
Las Vegas eccentric Bob Stupak whipped up the idea of the Stratosphere as an addition to his Vegas World casino. At first, he wanted the Strat to look like the Eiffel Tower, but the site was too narrow. While impressive, the Stratosphere was designed to be much taller. The FAA got their undies in a bunch, so the height was decreased to its current 1,149 feet.
You sort of can’t miss it.
8. Bally’s Was MGM Grand
Stay with us, now. The site where Bally’s sits was, at first, Three Coins Motel. Then, it was the Bonanza Hotel and Casino and later, New Bonanza Hotel and Casino. MGM Grand opened on the site in 1973. The hotel was sold to Bally Manufacturing in 1986, hence the name. It’s now owned by Caesars Entertainment.
Bally’s, back when it had some bling.
9. Cromwell Was Barbary Coast
Caesars Entertainment owns the Cromwell, too. Way back when, a place called Empey’s Desert Villa sat on the land. In 1979, Barbary Coast came to be, it later became Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon. Before the Cromwell name was finalized, the casino was going to be called Gansevoort. That name was tanked when regulators discovered connections between a Gansevoort Hotels investor, Arik Kislin, and the Russian mob. Good times.
Barbary Coast cleaned up real nice.
10. The Linq Hotel & Casino Was Flamingo Capri Motel
That’s right. At its inception, what’s now the Linq was the Flamingo Capri. In time, the resort became the Imperial Palace. It was named The Quad from 2012 to 2014. Funny story, mainly involving the word “oopsie.”
The Linq swallowed the former O’Sheas. O’Sheas was originally called, well, O’Sheas. One less thing to memorize.
11. Golden Gate Was Hotel Nevada
Golden Gate, in downtown Las Vegas, is about as far back as Vegas goes. Its address is One Fremont Street, in fact. In 1906, it opened as Hotel Nevada, then became Sal Sagev Hotel and Casino. That’s Las Vegas spelled backwards. Told you naming things is hard. It got the name Golden Gate in 1955.
Warned you about the showing off thing.
12. Casino Royale Was Nob Hill
Technically, the casino’s current name is Best Western Plus Casino Royale. Say that five times fast. From 1979-1992, the place was called Nob Hill. It closed in 1990, and Casino Royale opened in 1992, becoming a favorite Strip destination for value-seeking low rollers.
Casino Royale isn’t your typical Strip casino. The words “White Castle” spring to mind.
13. Delano Was THEhotel
God, how we despise that affectation, THEhotel. Mandalay Bay’s sister hotel isn’t technically a “casino,” but we sure weren’t going to create a list with just 14 things on it, so there you have it.
It seems like they were screaming the wrong part.
14. Downtown Grand Was Lady Luck
Downtown Grand was, at first, the Lady Luck Hotel & Casino. Against all odds, Downtown Grand opened on Oct. 27, 2013.
We were there as Lady Luck transformed into Downtown Grand. We have clearly been around.
15. Hooters Casino Hotel Was Howard Johnson Hotel
If there were an award for “Casinos Previously Named Something Else,” Hooters would need a bigger mantle. What began as Howard Johnson Hotel eventually became Paradise Hotel, 20th Century, the Treasury, Pacifica and Polynesian. At the end of that run, it was renamed Hotel San Remo, and that one stuck, at least for awhile (1989 to 2006).
The Hooters rewards club is called Rewards Club. Told you naming things is hard.
Sin City’s collection of casinos previously called something else continues to grow. Sometime in 2017, for example, Monte Carlo will be called Park MGM. The now-closed Las Vegas Club will get a new name, too.
Serious fans of Las Vegas have to keep on their toes. Or have access to the Internet. Whichever.