The Bear Growls: Binion’s embarrasses itself

Binion's in downtown Las Vegas 

The new 3:2 single decks suffer from shuffling disease and the pit personnel suffer from severe paranoia syndrome. It feels like being in the Four Queens sweatshop. Maybe the new owner moved some of the Four Queens crew to Binion’s.

At least the place is offering games that appear good on the surface, and are good games for low-rolling tourists — that’s less bad than many other operators have done. But with the constant shuffling, the hands per hour will be pathetically low, and the intolerance of any play other than red-chippers will not allow the tables to make much money. That’ll be the excuse to get rid of them in a few months. I had hoped for better with the Four Queens takeover — I don’t know why I did, knowing how the Four Queens sweats.

Two things new ownership should take a look at — one cheap to fix, the other expensive but is a disaster and lawsuit waiting to happen:

(1) The carpet in the elevator to the self-park garage is filthy and smells of urine. I don’t think the carpet has been changed, or even cleaned, in this century. Strange how the entire casino was re-carpeted not that long ago, but not the little patch of carpet in the tiny elevator.

(2) The outside retaining “walls” of the garage wouldn’t hold anything back if hit; they are incredibly unsafe. One could probably kick them down. If a car hit the “wall”, the rusted metal probably wouldn’t even slow the car on its way through. In view of the garage accidents in the past couple of years at Golden Nugget and I think the Stratosphere, this is a liability the new owner doesn’t need. It should be fixed, and quickly.



  1. “…the constant shuffling and intolerance of any play other than red-chippers will not allow the tables to make much money. That’ll be the excuse to get rid of them in a few months.”

    Maybe the casino executives need to be reminded that wheeling and dealing corporate assets and real estate deals may re-allocate wealth but the casino is in the business of gambling and must take risks. On my first trip to Biloxi, MS I needed information concerning transportation to a different casino and had an executive actually tell me “we are not going to help you get to a different casino”. Well, if the casinos no longer care about the customers things are definitely going to be turning bad for them. Players eventually will all start “voting with their feet”.

  2. Euphemisms!
    Lets face it, the term “Game Protection” is a euphemism that is used so that a casino can avoid the more loaded term of ‘cheating’. And ofcourse those engaging in ‘game protection’ are really interested only in protecting the casino from being cheated, protecting the other players is simply an incidental benefit that is unavoidable.

    However, when you come right down to it, it is indeed the game that is vital. Without the game there are no players and no profits for the casino. The problem is that in worrying so much about the casino being “ripped off” by well-educated and disciplined players, the casino may well be destroying so many of the fun aspects of the experience that serious inroads are made on the very existence of the game. If the market for the players dries up due to frustration with casino policies, there is no way to get the market back quickly.

    As table limits and shuffling devices are used to protect the casino from any loss, the frustrated players wander off to greener (or atleast more pleasant and fair) pastures. As player frustration mounts and players start to wander elsewhere, toke rates drop and casino staffing problems intensify.

    Its a casino, its not a shearing shed.

    When it turns into a deserted shearing shed, maybe they will finally wake up to that darned euphemism about ‘game protection’ and realize that you protect the game by making it a fun and potentially profitable experience for the players.

    Sweating the money with such constant shuffling only ruins the experience for so many that the net loser will be the casino.

  3. >Its a casino, its not a shearing shed.
    A great many companies prefer to “cherry pick” their customers. An insurance company may want to write fire insurance policies only on brick houses across from a fire station. Any company taking risks wants to minimize them: insure only NON=smokers, insure careful drivers, etc.

    If an insurance company underwrites only the most profitable policies it will cost itself the premium income from the riskier policies, but the overly cautious insurance company will not be destroying the industry in the process, only itself.

    A casino however is in a situation where the policies it adopts will affect the casino and the entire industry as well.

    Sure a Casino Manager can prefer to attract only ignorant sheep to be shorn such as attracting ignorant tourists who don’t really know how to play and who expect to lose. A few fancy lights on the machine a few non-fancy comps now and again and that shearing shed can go 24 hours a day separating tourists from their money. Place some articles in newspapers about ‘its entertainment’ and get those players who do win an occasional jackpot to pose for photographs and you’ve got yourself a cash cow. This is known as the Endless Fool Supply business model. The Casino Manager is banking on there always being a line of fools outside his doors just waiting to get in hand over their money.

    Turn your blackjack table into a red-chip only spot and there will be no need to sweat the money because there will be no money to be sweated over!
    Morose dealers who never get tokes will make the experience so unpleasant that players start to wander off.

    There comes a point in time where adding more flashing lights or more music is not going to bring in more fools. They can get a festive atmosphere elsewhere and they can get a decent run for their money elsewhere.

    Look at all the online poker money and sports betting money: its not just players who are geographically distant. Its players who are fed up with casinos that want to be nickle and dime joints so they can avoid losing larger sums.

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