After a bizarrely tumultuous week, Caesars Entertainment is in the unique situation of needing a name for the $185 million refurbished casino it plans to open early next year on the Strip.
What happened to Gansevoort? Caesars severed its ties to New York-based Gansevoort Hotel Group after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission raised concerns about Caesars opening a casino there, citing the company’s relationship to Gansevoort, which allegedly has an investor with connections to the Russian mafia.
Still, Caesars is continuing to transform the former Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall into an upscale boutique property, complete with Victor Drai’s nightclub and Giada De Laurentiis’ first restaurant. What will it be called? Conventional wisdom says Drai’s; it’s a famous name already well-known on the Strip, and it fits the current trend of simple, brand-building casino names. But will doubling down on Drai adequately tell the story of this property, which opened in 1979 as the Barbary Coast and is finding new life as a glamorous, hip destination?
Though not universally recognized by Las Vegas visitors, the Gansevoort brand did carry a certain upscale distinction (along with spelling and pronunciation woes). Dumping it offers a renewed opportunity, however, to reinvent this casino and hotel with an electrifying label that might set it apart from its chief Strip competitors, Cosmopolitan and the upcoming SLS Las Vegas. Those two casinos might be exciting, but their names are not.
Casino names through the years
Western themes, desert beauty and the occasional tropical tease:
1941: El Cortez
1946: Golden Nugget, Flamingo
1952: Sahara, Sands
1955: Dunes, Riviera
Extra glamour and Vegas-style cheesiness:
1959: Imperial Palace
1964: Lady Luck
1966: Caesars Palace, Aladdin, Four Queens
1968: Circus Circus
1979: Vegas World
Big themes and faraway destinations:
1990: Rio, Excalibur
1993: Treasure Island, Luxor
1999: Mandalay Bay, Paris, Venetian
Simple brand-building names:
2012: The D
2013: Downtown Grand