“Funner, California” — the town that serves as the backdrop Harrah’s Resort Southern California advertising campaigns — has a new mayor.
Caesars Entertainment announced Monday that actor Jane Lynch is the new mayor Funner. Lynch, also an acclaimed author and comedian, succeeds Rob Riggle and David Hasselhoff as the fictitious mayor of the gaming town.
To be factually accurate, Funner is actually Valley Center, Calif. Funner’s origins date back to 2012 when the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians — the gaming venue’s owner — was looking for a unique ad campaign to set itself apart from the dozens of tribal casinos in Southern California.
The Funner concept sparked a variety of additions and enhancements to the casino-hotel with the tribe being devoted to the idea, though it wasn’t until August that leaders of the tribal council voted to make Funner the home of the integrated resort. That year, Hasselhoff was proclaimed mayor.
Caesars, Tribe Gets Mileage Out of Funner
The Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians is getting bang for its buck with the Funner schtick. It’s gotten to the point that Funner is recognized on freeway signs and neither Caesars nor the tribe run away from it. Rather, they embrace Funner and all the marketing perks that common along with it.
Mayor Jane is already hard at work, rolling out a brand new zero-proof cocktail menu, vegan culinary offerings, two custom spa treatments and the trusty mayoral hotline. I cannot wait to see what else she has in store,” said Jill Barrett, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Resort SoCal, in a statement.
Harrah’s Southern California is one of roughly 70 tribal casinos in the state. Among that group is Harrah’s Northern California in Ione. That venue is owned by the Buena Vista Band of Me-Wuk Indians.
In total, Caesars farms out the Harrah’s brand to six tribal casinos across the US, including the aforementioned pair in California, one apiece in Arizona and Indiana and two in North Carolina.
Harrah’s Venerable Name in Own Right
While Funner and its collection of celebrity mayors certainly take the marketing cake, the Harrah’s brand is storied in the gaming industry.
The Harrah’s name trace its origins back to 1937, when William Harrah founded an eponymous bingo hall in Reno, Nevada. The company went public in 1971, and was acquired by the Holiday Inn hotel chain in 1980.
Harrah’s would eventually become the parent company of Caesars via a $10.4 billion takeover in 2005, but additional corporate actions made Caesars the parent company in 2010.
Today, the Harrah’s name is on 17 casinos operated by Caesars, including three in Nevada. The operator is planning to pull the brand from New Orleans, making that venue Caesars Palace, but it’s bringing the Harrah’s name to South Florida, renaming Isle Casino Pompano Park later this year.
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