The bright neon sign of Binion's Horseshoe now rests at the Neon Museum.
It's a sad reminder to me of the better days of the Horseshoe.
I took this photo on a visit to the Neon Museum in 2013.
Binion's Horseshoe was never the same after the departure of Jack Binion.
Under the management of Becky Binion Behnen it deteriorated rapidly. Becky's husband Nick Behnen could not get a Nevada gaming license so was prohibited from any management duties. However like Benny Binion before him, it is commonly thought that Nick ran things from behind the scenes. But unlike his father-in-law or his brother-in-law, Nick ran it poorly.
The property continued to deteriorate and became a shadow of it's former glory and hemorrhaged money until it closed in January 2004 after U.S. marshals seized cash from the casino to pay outstanding employee benefits.
“Hotel employees and guests were shocked when U.S. Marshall's, IRS officials and Gaming Control agents swarmed the casino telling everyone to cash out and leave on Friday. The group was enforcing two federal court orders to collect nearly $2 million in unpaid benefits to the hotel and restaurant employees union and the culinary union.
Two months ago the IRS filed a second lien against the casino claiming it owes $5 million in back payroll taxes. On Sunday, Eyewitness News cameras caught employees emptying out slot machines under the watchful eyes of U.S. Marshal's. It was a disappointing sight for those who have grown to love the Las Vegas landmark.” Quote from news8now
In March 2004 West Virginia-based MTR Gaming Group and Harrah's Entertainment bought Binion's Horseshoe for an estimated $50 million from Becky Binion Behnen. Ironically, at about the same time, Harrah's was forking over $1.45 billion to Becky's brother Jack Binion for his unrelated Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corp. Jack had started that company when he left Las Vegas and opened other Horseshoe properties in other states. As Becky and her husband Nick ran the Horseshoe into bankruptcy, Jack was building an empire.
Harrah's would manage the property for the next year and retain the rights to the Horseshoe brand and the WSOP.
The casino re-opened On April 1, 2004 after being closed for 2 ½ months. At that point it was still “Binion's Horseshoe” and was re-opened by Harrah's management in order to accommodate the World Series of Poker tournament scheduled for April 22.
Gone was the duct taped patched carpet and about a third of the slots. The employees were being paid again and the crowds returned as Mayor Oscar Goodman presided over the grand re-opening.
March 9, 2005 marked the last day of Harrah's Entertainment management and the change to
At least the new property was still called “Binion's” to retain the cache of the Binion name,
although there would be no Binion in residence.
After 53 years in one location, there would be no Binion running Binion's.