Just like Gene Autry, I’m happy to say I’m back in the saddle again! — Chuck Di Rocco
Benny Binion is no longer with us. The legendary casino chief signed off some time ago. But, not his spirit. It’s alive and well with his daughter, Becky Binion Behnen, and her two sons,Benny and Jack.
Becky bought out her brother Jack’s share in the Horseshoe Club a few years ago. Jack took his show to Mississippi and Louisiana and has been hitting home runs "out of the park" ever since.
Becky took over the reins at Benny Binion’s prized possession, the downtown Las Vegas Horseshoe Club.
The Horseshoe has always been a legend among gamblers. It still is. But, with all the glitz and glamour on the Strip, Becky has had her hands full keeping the famous gambling joint in the minds of players.
For years even as the Strip blossomed, nearly everyone knew if you wanted to bet high Binion’s was the place. Becky’s job was to keep the legendary club alive.
The club took a big step forward years ago when it purchased the Mint Hotel, a next-door neighbor. That moved provided needed hotel rooms and extra casino space.
Before I go any further, let me give you a little taste of Benny Binion directly off Becky’s lips:
“Dad was supposed to be dying” eventually he did, ” but he lived with me for six years before he crossed the finish line. His directness and sense of humor never faded."
“We had a full-time nurse. She had the impossible task of making Dad take his medicine and follow doctor’s orders." Frustrated, she approached Benny one day and said firmly that they needed to have a talk. Dad responded swiftly.
"You’re right,' he said, "and I’m going to go first. You’re fired!"
That was Benny. He told it like it was. Or, how he thought it should be. And, it’s not surprising to discover that her father’s philosophies have become Becky’s marching song.
Becky, assisted by son, Benny, is doing things the Benny Binion way. They’re teeing it high and letting it fly. They’re trying to re-capture the good old days. High on the list is the Horseshoe’s famous coffee shop, which was showing its age. Becky called in the painters and carpenters. The old coffee shop ain’t old any more.
Then she went to work on the casino odds.
Becky: “It was time to begin offering the best casino odds in town.”
Here’s a run down of what’s being offered:
- Players can get a 20% discount on losses of $100,000 or more if the markers are paid within seven days.
- Blackjack players can bet two hands at $10,000 each or one hand at $15,000.
- Blackjack players also can choose between single deck, double deck or six-deck shoe games.
- Craps shooters get 10 times odds.
Above all, players are offered what many believe is a reincarnated Benny Binion.
“Young Benny is a dead ringer for his grandfather,” said Executive Host Gene Kilroy. “He takes care of his players real good. If they play, Benny knows it and the player doesn’t have to be embarrassed to ask for a comp. Often the comps are offered before the player can even think to ask. I’ve been in this business a lot of years and when I tell you young Benny is head and shoulders above many of today’s casino operators, I know what I’m saying.
“Becky and Benny come from a good gambling stable. Sooner or later it will all come back to gambling is king. Figure on seeing Becky and Benny going the distance.”
Becky and Benny also take care of their dealers. Two weeks ago a policy kicked in allowing dealers to keep their own tips. Reports say it’s working well and the dealers love it.
Before he passed on, Mr. Binion and I shared the same doctor. His office is over on Rancho. Whenever I went for a visit I always looked for a Horseshoe limousine. It meant Benny was inside, often in the waiting room. Had I taken notes of all the stories he told me I’d have enough yarns to feed you for years to come.
In all honesty, Benny Binion was my hero.