When the SLS Casino opened in 2014, it did its best to be as far from its predecessor, Sahara Casino. The Nevada casino positioned itself as a contemporary with Aria or Cosmopolitan rather than Tropicana and Flamingo.
Now that the SLS has a new owner though, it appears the property is giving up on being a boutique property. Instead it is going back to its roots, with several hints the casino will soon be the Sahara once again.
Several hints suggest resurrecting Sahara
Alex Meruelo of The Meruelo Group purchased the SLS Casino for an undisclosed price in May. The privately-owned casino has not released financials in a couple of years.
However, it is unlikely the numbers turned around all that much from the first nine months of SLS operation, when the property lost over $100 million.
Meruelo is already overhauling many major elements of the casino. The property recently changed the name of its player rewards program.
The program originally was The Code. The new name is Club 52. The 52 is an homage to the year the Sahara Casino originally opened.
In addition to directly acknowledge its roots with its rewards club, SLS Casino’s social media feed is embracing the nostalgia as well.
Recently the SLS Instagram feed posted a photo of an old Sahara Casino match book, lending even more credence to the idea the casino is going back to its old name.
Recent Aliente hires suggest a focus on local customers
The other big shake up at the SLS is the management. The property brought in top Aliente Casino execs Terry Downey and Robert Schaffhauser in January.
Downey and Schaffhauser stole away a dozen different Aliente executives, who came on board to help with the rebrand.
Aliente is a casino best known for catering to local customers. Turning to this group to turn things around indicates a big change in approach for the SLS.
Instead of trying to compete with high-end casinos, it appears the new tact is to be the on-the-Strip place to be for local players.
Downey and Schaffhauser step down
Though Downey and Schaffhauser helped restock the upper management at SLS, the pair are actually no longer with the company. A few days ago, the SLS confirmed both execs parted ways with the casino.
What that means for the rest of the Aliente defectors is unclear. What is for sure is more big changes are in store for SLS, and it is looking increasingly more likely they will look quite a bit like the past than the present.