Casino Scene: 'Binionaire' slots a red hot tradition

2014-03-06T18:36:00Z 2014-08-31T19:41:11Z Casino Scene: 'Binionaire' slots a red hot traditionJohn G. Brokopp nwitimes.com
March 06, 2014 6:36 pm  • 

Some slot machines come and go, others go on and on. So it is with the “Who Wants to Be a Binionaire” progressives at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.

The machines are a time-honored Horseshoe tradition that dates back when gaming industry legend Jack Binion acquired the property and rebranded it.

Binionaire made its debut at the Shoe in November of 2000. Nearly 14 years later it is still going strong as evidenced by the double-barreled jackpot frenzy that took place on Saturday, February 22.

That evening at 9:35 p.m. a player identified as Donna H. lined up the three jackpot symbols across the pay line to hit the progressive for a whopping $222,587.43 for a three dollar investment.

Just minutes later as the Horseshoe slot staff was processing the lucky winner, they watched as Colette T. won a jackpot of $75,195.77 for a $1.50 investment on the fifty-cent bank of Binionaire progressives.

Legend reminds us that jackpots which hit with relative frequency are part of the lore of Binionaire.

During one memorable four-week period early in its history at the Shoe, the progressive jackpot was hit four times for a total of $611,163.

The hot streak started with a $156,222 hit, followed 15 days later by one for $152,217. Less than 24 hours later it popped again for $150,042, followed just 15 days later by a $152,682 bonanza one month to the day when all the excitement started.

A harbinger of things to come took place during its first year of operation when Binionaire was won three times in less than a month for jackpots of $278,000, $153,000, and $172,000.

Similar binges have taken place in more recent years.

The longevity of Binionaire is even more remarkable because the machines are traditional three-reel spinners on a slot floor dominated by multi-line video slots with bonus rounds.

“Who Wants to Be a Binionaire” first appeared in 2000 at the Horseshoe branded property in Tunica, Mississippi.

Jack Binion and his staff monitored the game, liked what they saw, and decided to duplicate it in Hammond.

The burning desire of slot players to line up the images of a smiling Jack Binion jackpot symbol across the pay line on the dollar progressive quickly spawned a fifty-cent bank of progressive machines

The dollar bank is seeded with $150,000 every time it is claimed, while the fifty-cent carousel of machines starts with a $75,000 jackpot.

A percentage of the money that people play on the machines is added to the jackpot until someone wins. It takes a three-coin max bet to be eligible for the jackpot, which means a bet of $3.00 per spin on the dollar progressive and $1.50 on the fifty-cent progressive.

It’s a fact that veteran slot players often target an attractive progressive jackpot, be it on a video poker machine or a traditional slot. The higher the progressive the higher the potential return on investment.

BONUS ROUND-UP:

HOLLYWOOD JOLIET: Get ready for the Marquee Millionaire Slot Tournament the next two Saturdays, March 8 and March 15 from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the upper level of the casino. The top score on each tournament date will win a trip to a tournament at the M Resort in Las Vegas and a chance to play for $1 million. The prize package includes accommodations at the M Resort, a meal package, and $1,000 for travel expenses. As a bonus, 40 additional players each day will win a share of $10,000 in cash prizes.

MAJESTIC STAR: “The Road to Vegas” promotion is underway. If you win a “Golden Pass” at any Majestic Star slot tournament now through the end of May you are a guaranteed a spot in the casino’s invitation-only finals to be held on Saturday, June 14. The grand champion will win a seat at the Las Vegas Championship Tournament to compete against other players from around the country for a share of over $500,000 in guaranteed cash prizes.

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