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Binion's Horseshoe

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Binion's Horseshoe

Binion's Horseshoe also known as the Horseshoe Casino or simply the Horseshoe was a hotel and casino located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada on what is now the Fremont Street Experience. The casino was named for its founder, Benny Binion and had 366 rooms, three restaurants and a rooftop pool.

The Horseshoe brand was used for several casino properities owned by the Binion family members. While not part of the same company, the other Horseshoe Casinos were owned by Jack Binion a co-owner of Binion's.


Benny bought the Eldorado Club and Apache Hotel in 1951, opening them as Binion's Horseshoe. It was the first casino to have carpeting and comps available to all gamblers. Binion also instituted high table limits, even dropping table limits completely at times, which was an immediate hit.

Binion's entire family was involved in the casino. His wife, Teddy Jane Binion, managed the casino cage and his sons Jack Binion and Ted Binion would become president and manager, respectively. His daughter, Becky Binion Behnen (Becky Behnen), managed the kitchen.

Benny served time in Leavenworth Penitentiary from 1953 to 1957 for tax evasion. He had to sell his share of the casino to pay approximately $5 million in legal costs, but in 1964 his family regained control.

As a convicted felon, Benny was no longer allowed to hold a gambling license, though he remained on the Binion's payroll as a consultant.

Ted would eventually be removed from all casino involvement after his addiction to heroin and other drug use were revealed.

In 1970, Jack began hosting the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Horseshoe. Eventually, the WSOP became the largest set of poker tournaments in the world. In 1988, the Horseshoe expanded by acquiring The Mint, a high-rise hotel on the west side of the casino. The expansion of the casino from this purchase provided room for Binion's first poker room.

In 1998, Becky Behnen, took over the presidency after a legal battle with Jack Binion. The battle ended with Jack being bought out while retaining a 1% interest in the casino so that he could retain his Nevada Gaming license. Jack moved on to other gambling interests.

Behnen implemented cost-cutting measures, most of which were unpopular with the gamblers. Among the most notable was the removal of the Horseshoe exhibit that held $1 million in $10,000 bills, and had served as a backdrop for free pictures of visitors. She also made changes in the distribution of the money from the entry fees in the World Series of Poker that were unpopular with the casino dealers and closed a popular restaurant in the casino. Benny had used one of tables in the restaurant as his office.

She also attracted the attention of the state regulators by failing to keep sufficient funds available to pay winners in the casino cage. Bob Stupak also drew negative publicity to the casino when he tried to redeem his $5,000 casino tokens, some of which were stored in the casino's safe deposit boxes, and Becky refused to exchange them for cash.

Under Behnen's leadership, the casino became mired in debt and was closed on January 9, 2004, when U.S. Marshalls and Nevada Gaming Control Board Agents removed cash from the casino cage pursuant to a federal court order relating to the nonpayment of union benefits. The hotel closed its doors the following day.

In March 2004, Harrah's Entertainment purchased Binion's Horseshoe. Harrah's Entertainment sold Binion's Horseshoe on March 11, 2004 to MTR Gaming Group. Harrah's retained the rights to the Horseshoe brand and the World Series of Poker when it sold the casino and hotel, but sold the Binion's brand. The land the casino sits on is still leased from multiple owners.

Binion's reopened in April 2004, with MTR Gaming operating the hotel and Harrah's Entertainment operating the casino, while MTR Gaming acquired the required gaming license. Harrah's continued to operate the casino under a temporary contract with MTR Gaming until March 11, 2005.

MTR Gaming remodeled both the casino and hotel after the purchase. One aspect of the remodelling was to replace the worn carpet with surplus carpeting that Benny Binion had ordered and stored since the initial carpeting.

On March 11, 2005, MTR Gaming Group officially took control of the operation of the casino and renamed it Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel.


  • Las Vegas Review-Journal?

  • Las Vegas Sun

Created by: pieby2 last modification: Thursday 14 of September, 2006 [20:48:31 UTC] by pieby2

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