The news of Terry Caudill’s company agreeing to purchase the mismanaged Binion’s (link to news article) is moderately good news. At least the operation will be run primarily by a hands-on individual who has a personal stake in its success, rather than by an absentee owner or a huge, faceless entity with little accountability for incompetent middle-level managers.
“I can tell you it is very difficult to run a downtown property from across the country,” said Caudill, whose Four Queens is located diagonally across Casino Center Boulevard from Binion’s. “It is important to the customers to feel like there is an owner present.”
In its favor, Four Queens has traditionally offered a few blackjack tables that are less bad than most of today’s garbage games. On the other hand, Four Queens is a notorious sweatshop that can’t be played for more than puny stakes. And it is the only casino in Nevada that has the audacity to use a cut card on a single deck game.
It’s better that someone like Mr. Caudill purchases the failing Binion’s than it being boarded up. Certainly there is nothing Mr. Caudill’s people could do that would make presently worthless Binion’s any worse than it is now. It’s unfortunate that MTR Gaming didn’t continue with the original direction it took when it purchased Binion’s from Harrah’s. If it had, I think the place would now be a success. (See long-ago Bear Praise for Binion’s) But note the comment I inserted March 7, 2007: I believe it will soon be sold or will go out of business. Good riddance to the present group of nitwits.
An unfortunate part of the transition is the statement that Binion’s would retain its approximately 850 employees. Most of the folks employed there should be replaced. I believe the operation would be better off by getting rid of the dead wood, and starting fresh with new employees. But it is understandable that Mr. Caudill doesn’t want to take such a “politically incorrect” approach.
Let’s hope Mr. Caudill instructs his managers to take out the garbage 6 to 5 blackjack from Binion’s; install some real games, not sweat the money as much as Four Queens does, and offer patrons reasonable value like most of downtown Las Vegas used to do. And if single deck is offered, don’t make it the sleazy, sneaky version with a cut card. This takes unreasonable, unfair advantage of patrons not familiar with the cut card effect.
I wish Mr. Caudill success with his new venture, and hope that soon there will again be a reason to visit downtown.
Added July 2, 2008 — The Four Queens is no longer using a cut card on its single deck game. Unfortunately, the game is constantly shuffled and is still a poor game for a brain-using player. But at least it is not ripping off the suckers as much as the cut-card version did. Congratulations to whoever at the Four Queens had the integrity to remove the ripoff.