Jack Binion, founder of Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corporation, got his start in the gambling industry while watching his father–the legendary and unconventional Benny Binion–operate the Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas from the casino’s coffee shop. After Benny was forced to sell the casino following a tax evasion conviction in 1953, twenty-two-year-old Jack secured a loan from his mother, purchased the Horseshoe Club from its newest owners, and set about running it with his younger brother, Ted (creating the World Series of Poker along the way).
This continued for the next 38 years, with Jack securing greater control of the family business following the death of his father and brother. His sister inherited a sizable interest in the casino following the passing of their mother, and this eventually resulted in a tense legal battle for control of the family business. In 1998, Jack signed over his interests to his sister and started looking elsewhere for investment opportunities.
Prior to the dispute, he had managed to secure the rights to use the Horseshoe name, and he decided to apply this to a riverboat casino in Bossier City, Louisiana. Horseshoe Gaming LLC was formed in 1993, and the 46,000 square-foot paddleboat Queen of the Red made its debut in July 1994 (along with a nearby hotel and pavilion).
Another casino in Robinsonville, Mississippi, would follow, and both centers promised the most generous rules and payouts in the region. The Horseshoe habit of offering 10x odds on craps was unheard of at the time, but when competitors tried to match it, Binion kept going up until he reached 100x odds. When casinos actively compete in such a fashion, it results in larger customer turnout and bigger paydays for players.
The Bossier City facility grossed $151.2 million from casino gaming, while the Robinsonville location brought in $137.5 million after taxes in its first year. The profit continued like clockwork, and in 1999 Horseshoe Gaming LLC became Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corporation in anticipation of the purchase of Empress Entertainment and their casino holdings.
While this transaction didn’t go as smoothly as hoped for, the Binion empire continued to grow. In 2000, the revenue for all Horseshoe properties amounted to $1 billion.
Casinos with the Horseshoe Brand
In 2004, Harrah’s Entertainment (now known as Caesars Entertainment Corporation), purchased the holdings of Horseshoe Gaming for $1.45 billion. Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corporation still exists, however, and it continues to serve as the operating company for any property bearing the Horseshoe name. As of this writing, the following locations are under their domain:
Horseshoe Cleveland – Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, this casino includes 89 gaming tables and 1,600 slot machines.
Horseshoe Baltimore – This state-of-the-art casino opened on August 26th, 2014, and features a 122,000-square-foot gaming floor in an urban environment. In addition to table games and video lottery terminals, the site also includes a World Series of Poker room.
Horseshoe Cincinnati – The only casino in the city of Cincinnati, this facility offers 100x odds at the craps table, as well as unique games such as Mississippi Stud, Crazy Four, Three Card Poker, and WSOP Bonus Poker.
Horseshoe Bossier City – Sixty-eight table games are available at this riverboat casino, including $25,000 limits on blackjack and 100x odds on craps. There’s also an Asian room dedicated to games such as midi-baccarat and mini-baccarat.
Horseshoe Council Bluffs – Slots fans can choose from over 1,700 machines, while fans of competitive card games can try out the 18-table poker room that includes Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and Texas Hold’em. A wide selection of table games is offered, as well as greyhound and simulcast racing. Previously known as the Bluffs Run Casino, it was opened in 2006 following extensive remodeling.
Horseshoe Tunica – Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, this casino features 70 table games with $10,000 limits. The craps table has 100x odds, and there’s also Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, blackjack, roulette, and Caribbean Stud Poker. It’s been in operation since 1995, and the liberal comp policies and player-friendly rules have made it a haven for serious gamblers.
Horseshoe Hammond – Only 20 minutes from downtown Chicago, this casino offers customers over 1,500 penny slots, as well as high roller slots with denominations up to $1,000. There are more than 100 table games, the largest poker room in the Midwest, plus an Asian gaming room with Pai Gow Tiles, Big Baccarat, and more. Until 2001, this establishment was known as the Empress Casino.
Horseshoe Southern Indiana – Set on the Ohio River and easily accessible from both Louisville and Indianapolis, this site includes a wide selection of table games and over 2,100 slot machines. Not only is it the largest riverboat in the United States, but it’s also the largest riverboat casino in the world.
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