POSTED: 4:57 a.m. HST, Jan 4, 2012
LAS VEGAS >> The Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino officially changed its name to drop its hotel chain moniker on Tuesday after a license agreement expired at the start of 2012.
Workers changed the hotel marquee to reflect the new name for the property east of the Las Vegas Strip: The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Its new motto: “Same Fame. New Name.”
It’s the second time Elvis Presley’s former haunt has changed its name. Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian opened the property in 1969 as the International Hotel, then sold it to the Hilton chain. It became the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971.
The hotel-casino sought to end the agreement last year as the property contended with financial troubles. It defaulted on a $252 million loan in 2010 and used operational expenses to make payments during three months last year while it tried to restructure debt.
Casino name changes are uncommon, though not unprecedented in Sin City, said Michael Green, a College of Southern Nevada history professor who specializes in Sin City’s history.
“Generally, the icons of the past, the name isn’t changed — it’s blown up,” Green said Tuesday. “Name changes like that are not too common, especially because most hotel-casinos do develop some cachet with their customers.”
Other casinos that have changed their names include the Aladdin becoming Planet Hollywood, and the MGM Grand becoming Bally’s, Green said. It’s more common for casinos to make small adjustments to their names rather than wholesale changes, he added.
Green said the hotel-casino, in addition to Presley performing more than 800 sold-out shows, was distinctive in Las Vegas history for its location off the Strip, and a youth hostel that served as a precursor to other family-friendly resorts in the adult destination.
The change means the property won’t be connected with Hilton’s hotel loyalty program, though hotel officials say it’ll keep its player rewards program and amenities. It is owned by investors including Colony Capital LLC.