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November 23, 2014

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Binion’s cuts jobs, valet parking amid ‘unprecedented recession’

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Sun file photo

Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas.

Binion's Gambling Hall in downtown Las Vegas has eliminated the equivalent of about 20 full-time jobs as a result of the continuing recession.

Spokeswoman Lisa Robinson said the positions were cut with the elimination Monday of valet parking services and changes in the food and beverage department.

Since the property's hotel shut down last year management noticed most casino guests were walking in from Fremont Street and it didn't make economic sense to have valet parking, Robinson said.

The company's self-parking garages for guests and employees remain open and casino customers can continue to park for free with validation, Robinson said.

Binion's has also stopped serving meals to employees in the employee dining room and they instead will be paid for one meal per shift, she said.

Because some of the positions involved part-time workers, Robinson couldn't say exactly how many workers were laid off because of the changes.

"Over the last two and a half years, Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel has had to adjust to the challenges brought about by this unprecedented economic recession. We have had to make difficult decisions, and without significant improvement in the economy and our own revenue, we must continue to make them," Binion's said in a statement today.

Binion's sister downtown property, the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, was unaffected by the changes, Robinson said.

Once the economy turns around, Binion's intends to reopen the hotel and restore other services, but there's no telling when that will happen, Robinson said.

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  1. Binion's is an authentic, historic casino property - one of the very few left. Somewhere, a casino vulture is circling to take over the property and take advantage of that authenticity once the recession ends for Las Vegas.

  2. The Binion name is synonymous with killing the competition (sometimes literally), it's ironic that the competition (and to be fair, the economy) is now killing it.

  3. The man that owns Binions and the Four Queens is a good operator.

    If not for him chances are Binions would already be boarded up and everyone out of work.

    Times are tough and he is doing what is needed to keep the doors open on both places. He will turn it around.

    Downtown has had a lot of good news and future projects announced lately. Hopefully they come through and we will see Downtown come back to being a great place once again.

  4. Binion's made a big mistake selling the rights to the World Series of Poker. They would be rolling in money right now. Oh well. Too little too late.

  5. dipstick

    Have you ever been to the Horseshoe in - where is it - Hammond? (Or is it East Chicago). I was quite surprised when I went there last year when I came back to the Midwest. When I left for Vegas in 2002, it was all just river boats in Indiana!!

  6. Ken,

    Binion's did not sell the rights to the World Series of Poker.

    When Harrah's sold Binions they did not include the World Series of Poker with the property.

  7. Maybe those who were laid off can get work at the Cosmopolitan? They seem to have a more positive view of the economy.

  8. All downtown has to offer visitors is better games than are found on the Strip. Somehow, downtown casino bosses cannot grasp this simple concept. The proliferation downtown of such patron ripoffs as 6 to 5 blackjack, short-pay video poker, etc. have hastened the demise of downtown. Unfortunately, this is likely to continue, as I see nothing on the horizon that makes me think any casino operator wants to return to offering reasonable "entertainment value" before vacuuming the suckers' wallets empty.

  9. That's very Christmas of them. They couldn't wait two more weeks? Must be hurting pretty bad.

    By the time Oscar gets his government downtown all built downtown businesses will be gone.

    So much for being out of the recession.

  10. 6-5 blackjack anyone?

  11. The took out the 4 optimum play videopoker machines somewhen this year and since then I have stopped giving them any action..... The nicest thing is probably the poker room. It's spacious and these 2 dollar comps per hour can really make up for the inconvenience of playing in run down dump. Binion's Horseshoe used to be a classic, but now it turned into a 3rd class dump. Sorry.

    From Switzerland

  12. In the good old (Horseshoe) days you would see Jack Binion on the casino floor. Customer service was king. It's funny, half of the posters call it a "dump", the other half call it a "classic"!
    I'm over 50, I vote "classic"! Last time I was there, my son fed a slot machine for awhile, before giving up. I dropped a couple quarters in and pocketed all of "his" money! (He returned the favor at MGM on the next trip).
    I love Binions.

  13. Bakersfield put quarters in a machine? When was his last trip downtown? In the 90s? Downtown LV is suffering from awful decisions made years ago. One of the worst came in the late 30s & early 40s when Tom Hull shunned downtown to open the El Rancho Vegas on property in the county because of onerous & burdensome city of LV restrictions. More recently, Neonopolis, the canopy, the theft of the Hecht & Pappas properties, greedy owners along with stupid & compliant politicians combined to kill its prospects. The really good operators have gone, retired or are dead and it shows. Closing Fremont Street to vehicular traffic was a bone-headed move. Driving up "Glitter Gulch" to see the lights was a big draw! Now, what have they got? A neon canopy that draws families who, after watching the show, don't spend a dime and go back to the Strip. But they did accomplish one thing. They created non-productive jobs that siphoned off millions each year to pay the salaries of friends, relatives and cronies at the Fremont Street Experience.

  14. We gather here today to express our final farewell bidding in the honor of the deceased. From dust to dust, ashes to ashes...

    "Who gets the million-dollar money display, Judge?"

  15. I agree that they've turned Binions into a dump. Back in the day, it offered decent games, but no more. I always stay downtown and I don't even think about playing at Binions.

  16. I was only in this place twice. The first time I went in to see how this place was considered so wonderful and classic. I nearly fell trying to walk on the crooked and well worn floor. It was like they put carpeting over lose floor boards or something. It was all crooked. The second time only to use the rest room.

    NOTE TO LVFACTS:
    Some casinos still are set to give you coins back. I know one place downtown and it just may be binions or that one place on the corner across from Binions going towards Main that has gals out in front giving beads); sat down and put $5 in the machine and got bored and tried to cash out - out came $4 in nickels!! I know there is a bank of 25cent slot machines at the Rampart that gives you quarters back. I always used to see the elderly folks playing those machines.

  17. lvfacts, It was in December of 2008 that I "put a quarter in a slot machine" at Binions, not that long ago. Some older places still use the older machines and let you use coins. Also saw them at Fitzgeralds and Gold Strike that year. They seem to be going the way of a rotary dial phone.
    Cliff, The million dollar display was removed and sold off, bill by bill several years ago, for way over face value. (for those who may not know, there was a giant horseshoe shaped display with a million dollars in $10,000 bills on display at the back end of the casino for a long time. they took your picture and gave you a free print of the photo (I have some old ones that are black and white and I was much younger!) I believe that went away when Harrah's took it over from the Binion family.

  18. Bakersfield;
    The million dollar display was still at Binion's in September, the last time I was in Las Vegas. I am sitting in my computer room in Belleville with the Binion's photo taken this September staring at me. I think the money is smiling at me. I'm certainly smiling at the money. Actually the rooms in Binion's are not bad. My wife and I stayed there on some of our visits before they closed the rooms pending an economic recovery.
    I suspect that Binion's and the Four Queens will in fact make it through this Las Vegas downturn and will both prosper in the next couple of years as things rather quickly improve for Vegas.

  19. People actually use the valet there? Makes sense they cut it....although I hate to see jobs lost.

  20. Belleville,
    The original collection of $10,000 bills that had been there for decades was sold to a coin dealer in January, 2000. The lady who the Binions had sold to was said to not want to pay the insurance on keeping them. The 100 bills were then sold off by the dealer to collectors for well in excess of face value. The fact that they were from the Binion's Horseshoe display added to their value (The way an antique car from the original Harrah's in Reno had added value as a "Harrah car"). The current owners of Binions have more recently re-installed a million dollar display, without the original bills according to articles I read. What was the denominations of the bills you have in your recent photo? There are less than 350 $10,000 bills left in "circulation", It's doubtful that one could collect 100 of them today. I'm sure if one looked, they could find an "ex Binion" $10,000 bill for sale as a high end collectors item.

  21. Bakersfield;
    Thanks for the explanation. The bills in my picture appear to be all $100.00 Benjamin Franklin bills. From the number of actual bills in the display, I imagine that most of the bills behind the ones with the face actually visible are much smaller denominations in order to give the impression of a huge stack.
    It is a great free souvenir of Binion's.

  22. "The lady who the Binions had sold to was said to not want to pay the insurance on keeping them"

    The "Lady" was Becky Binion. She sold off the Bills because she needed the money to try to keep the place running. Had nothing to do with Insurance at all.

    She did not have the talent for gaming her father did and it did not do well for her. There where days when sections of slots had to be shut down because her cash level fell below what the gaming board required her to keep on premise.

    The only reason the place is open today is because she sold it to save it.

    Ms. Binion is a great lady but the Casino business was not her thing.

  23. vegaslee, the article I read (an old L.V. Sun article from January 20,2000) listed her name as Becky Behnen. I just re-read the article and yes, It did mention her as a Binion. I missed that on my first read. Thanks for the info. That same article mentions her reason for selling as "rising security costs and loss of interest income". Another article I read mentiones her blaming "insurance costs". Your reason certainly makes sense. I can't imagine those bills would be saleable (if they were stolen) since the 100 serial numbers were no doubt kept in the casino's records or availible upon examination of photos. and the rarity of the bills would cause any buyer to verify that. (kind of like the guy who stole the Mona Lisa years ago, how does one sell that?) I seem to remember that Harrah's came in at the last minute to save the Horseshoe from going under.
    I met Jack Binion in the 1990's. He seemed like a really nice guy and seemed very customer oriented.