WSOP may need a new home as Rio to be rebranded

Jon Sofen
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Posted on March 19, 2021 10:00 pm EDT

The World Series of Poker might be forced to move outside the Rio, which is being rebranded as a Hyatt hotel. Caesars Entertainment no longer owns the property, and the writing appears to be on the wall that the current owners have other plans in mind.

In 2019, Caesars sold the iconic Las Vegas hotel and casino to Dreamscape Companies LLC for around $500 million. As part of the sale, the new owners agreed to lease the facilities to Caesars for at least two years, with the option for additional years.

That lease ends at the end of 2021, and it’s clear now it won’t be extended. Dreamscape announced through a press release that the company is partnering with hospitality industry giant Hyatt Hotels to rebrand and remodel the Rio. All Rio rooms and signage will be rebranded under the Hyatt image.

No timetable has been set for the rebranding and renovation, and specific details aren’t yet publicly available. But we do know the iconic casino is about to undertake a complete overhaul from top to bottom.

The Rio first opened in 1990 and was the first all-suite hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel was named after the city of Rio de Janeiro and has a Brazilian culture theme. Harrah’s Entertainment, which was later bought out by Caesars Entertainment, moved the WSOP to the Rio in 2005 from the legendary Binion’s Horseshoe and Casino on Fremont Street.

The annual poker extravaganza has since made the Rio its home. But those days are likely coming to an end in the coming year or two.

Hyatt will rebrand the entire casino under its image and implement a multi-million-dollar renovation process to the entire facility. That includes the casino floor, restaurants, retail stores, bars, hotel rooms, and the pool.

Many poker players have long called for Caesars to remodel the Rio. Some refer to the property as old and dingy and don’t particularly care for its restaurants. But if the WSOP moves outside the Rio, those renovations won’t impact the poker community.

Where would the WSOP go?

If the World Series of Poker is forced to leave the Rio, there will be plenty of options for a new venue. Caesars, which owns the WSOP brand, is set to open a state-of-the-art convention center on the Strip, which many have long rumored would eventually become the permanent home for the WSOP.

If that isn’t the route Caesars wants to go with its annual poker series, they could decide to build a separate venue that is used exclusively for World Series of Poker events. Although we don’t know for sure where the WSOP will end up, or if Hyatt will agree to permit Caesars to continue hosting the series at the rebranded Rio, there is very little, if any, chance it would ever leave Las Vegas.

Featured image source: Flickr