Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2017

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Binion’s Ranch in Pahrump sells for $1 million

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Binion’s Horseshoe owner Bennie Binion is shown in this March 1978 photo. Binion’s is the first downtown casino to have carpeted floors, free drinks for all players and limo service to and from the airport.

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Stu Ungar, a 43-year-old professional gambler from Las Vegas, right, holds up his winning hand during the championship finals in the World Series of Poker, Thursday, May 15, 1997, in Las Vegas. Jack Binion, co-president and part owner of Binion's Horseshoe & Casino where the tournament was being held, watches Ungar after presenting him with his $1 million winnings.

After nearly three years on the market, Binion’s Ranch in Pahrump, purchased in the 1960s by Las Vegas casino pioneer Benny Binion, has been sold for $1 million — less than half the original asking price.

Nevada residents Ralph L. and Betty L. McKnight finalized the purchase of the 139-acre property early this month, said Todd Groover of Groover Realty, a Pahrump-based agency. The property had been on the market since January 2014 and was originally listed for $2.2 million.

Groover did not say what the married couple plan to do with the property.

“We’re very proud to have helped the McKnights purchase the property, and we’re excited to see what happens with it,” he said.

The property’s new owners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After the ranch was originally listed, the price was dropped to $1.75 million in 2015 and $1.2 million this year, said listing agent Norma Jean Opatik of Realty Executives.

The immediate prior owner, Benny Binion’s son Jack Binion, who held the property in a land trust, lowered the price this year in an attempt to sell it faster, Opatik said. Several potential buyers had expressed interest, but nobody came up with the financing to close the deal, she said.

Nye County was among the potential buyers. But in July 2015, county officials voted against a proposal to purchase the property for $1.75 million.

“I would have liked Pahrump to maintain that property and make something of it,” Opatik said. “However, I’m anxious to see how the new buyers are going to develop it.”

The ranch was built in 1959 and acquired in the 1960s by Benny Binion, the original owner of the Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas, according to media reports. Binion died in Las Vegas in 1989.

The ranch once served as a home for Binion’s animals, which included antelope, peacocks and deer. Rumors have swirled for decades that up to $2 million of precious metals — gold and silver — is buried on the ranch, but nothing has ever been found.

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