Binek happy to be a part of Silverton's growth

Binek happy to be a part of Silverton's growth

March 22, 2016 3:01 AM
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An 18-story, 390-unit timeshare is under construction adjacent to the Silverton Casino. The much-anticipated Cracker Barrel, a popular restaurant and gift store, is also coming soon to the area while not far up Interstate-15 will be an IKEA, the Swedish furniture store.

Nobody is happier about this growth than Bryan Binek, who is entering his second year since returning to the Silverton as executive director of gaming and operations.

“I think we’re really going to see more development around here,” Binek said. “The more people you can get around here, the more people who are going to come in here.

“The more rooftops the better.”

Not that it’s a ghost town like when Binek first started as a dealer in 1994 – the property was then known as Boomtown – but there’s still plenty of room to grow, all of which could only benefit Silverton.

The location – I-15 and Blue Diamond Road – is only about three miles down Las Vegas Boulevard from the south end of the Strip, but Binek often would be asked about his commute to work back in the Boomtown days.

“You drive that far?” they’d ask.

Binek’s typical response: “It’s not like it’s in Primm.”

Not even close.

This is the second stint at Silverton for Binek, who left about 3½ years ago to be closer to his twin brother, Brad, in Arizona.

“I had a great job here,” said Binek, who had been director of operations for 12 years when he left. “It’s just a bond. Someone who’s not a twin, they won’t understand.”

The Binek twins, who grew up in Colorado, often joke that it’s like “a freak show” when they’re together.

“I don’t know if it’s because you don’t see a lot of older twins together,” said Binek, who is 51, “but everyone stares at us.”

While it was nice to reconnect with his brother, Binek couldn’t stay in Arizona.

A few months after moving there, he was stricken with a disease called Coccidioidomycosis, more commonly referred to as Valley Fever.

It’s an infection that can be caused by inhaling fungus during a dust storm.

“You can get it (in Vegas) but it’s not very prevalent up here,” Binek said. “There’s so many farms down there (in Arizona), cotton farms. When those (haboobs or dust storms) come through, you breath it in.

“For me, it affected all of my joints. It was about a year to recover. I couldn’t walk. It was a really rough time. Some days I couldn’t even go to work. I just couldn’t move.”

Binek’s dog, a chocolate lab, passed away after her brain was infected by the same illness.

His brother has lived in Arizona for 11 years now and hasn’t had a problem, but Binek decided it was best for him to get out, especially when he had the opportunity last year to return to Silverton with what amounted to a promotion.

Kimiko Peterson, director of advertising, calls Binek “the face of Silverton” because he’s liked so much by the customers.

Peterson boasts that Silverton, which gets around 70-percent of its business from locals, is a “hidden gem” because of its unexpected features.

The main attraction is a 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, which includes sharks, stingrays and numerous tropical fish. It’s free of charge and a popular spot for photo opportunities with mermaid shows on the weekends.

A new promotion actually allows Silverton rewards club members to swim with the mermaids. All they have to do is earn 200,000 points in their first day after signing up.

That would take quite the high roller to reach, but it’s been done before in one day, according to Binek.

A Bass Pro Shops, the first ever built west of the Mississippi River, is located right next to the aquarium.

The property’s outdoors theme also includes an old Airstream Trailer, with a miniature bowling alley, inside a bar called the Shady Grove Lounge.

None of those are features someone would necessarily anticipate seeing if they haven’t been inside the 300-room, lodge-style hotel and casino.

“It’s kind of the unexpected,” Peterson said. “That’s what we like.”

The casino, meanwhile, has been expanded from 30,000 square feet when Binek first started at Boomtown to 90,000 square feet now.

Binek has been known to go so far as adding a specific type of slot machine at the request of a regular customer. That’s why they like the guy.

For him, it’s just great to be back and healthy again.

Dave Dye is a former sportswriter for the Detroit News and FoxSportsDetroit.com. He has covered six Stanley Cup Finals, five Final Fours, three NBA Finals, three Rose Bowls and one World Series. Email: DaveDye@GamingToday.com.