Big Benny Binion A Game Changer
Benny Binion is a name that ranks high in the list of famous Las Vegans who made a difference. In some cases, the differences made were good and in others bad. In Benny Binion’s case you will have to be the judge
In any other city, Benny Binion would have been known as a criminal and not one to be admired. In fact, in Texas, where he hails from, his criminal record stretches back to 1924 and included petty crimes plus a couple of murders. .
Wikepedia says this about one of Binion’s murders:
In 1931, Binion was convicted of shooting and killing an African American rum-runner, Frank Bolding, “cowboy style.” This was the origin of Binion’s “Cowboy” nickname. Binion received a two-year suspended sentence.
The Texas Monthly ran a story called Forget the Sapranos. Meet the Binions. You can read it here.
Binion’s Hotel & Casino downtown was previously the Horseshoe when Benny Binion and or family owned it. Today, it is owned by TLC Casino Enterprises.
One thing that made his casino different, famous, and memorable was that he would accept a bet of any amount, as long as it was the first bet. One gambler came in and plopped down $777,000. He won and walked out with $1,554,000. The same man came back later, bet $1,000.,000 and lost it. Unfortunately, soon after, he committed suicide.
Binion also started the well known World Series of Poker. He treated his patrons well and kept them happy. So, in Vegas, at least, he is a hero. There is a statue of Binion located at the South Point Hotel & Casino, south of Mandalay Bay. It used to be downtown at Casino and Ogden.