Ted Binion’s ‘Dateline’ Episode Documents Casino Heir’s Mysterious Death

Posted on: January 14, 2022, 10:42 a.m.

Last update: January 14, 2022, 11:59 a.m.

The new two o’clock tonight Deadline episode on NBC documents the mysterious death of Ted Binion, the heir to his father Benny Binion’s gambling empire in Las Vegas.

Dateline NBC Ted Binion Las Vegas crime
An ad for Friday’s episode of Dateline chronicles the mysterious death of Ted Binion, above. One of Benny Binion’s children, Ted’s death has long been the subject of much rumour. (Picture: NBC)

Ted Binion died on September 17, 1998, at just 54 years old. His death has since come under intense scrutiny, largely because his death is as mysterious as the life he lived.

Binion was found dead in his Las Vegas home with illegal and prescription drugs by his side. One of Benny Binion’s five children, Ted lived an atypical life that included numerous run-ins with the law.

Ted Binion was linked to mob characters. He lost his gaming license in March 1998 after the Nevada Gaming Commission ruled that his association with the Chicago Outfit and mobster Herbert “Fat Herbie” Blitzstein made him unfit to be involved in the industry.

A native of Texas, Benny Binion first made his fortune running illegal gambling networks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He then moved to Nevada and became a gambling pioneer in downtown Las Vegas when he opened Binion’s in 1951. Binion was also responsible for creating the World Series of Poker in 1970.

Deadline: What Happened in Vegas premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

True Crime in Sin City

Sandra Murphy, Binion’s girlfriend at the time of his death, was charged and convicted of murdering him.

A jury found that Murphy and his secret lover, Rick Tabish, murdered Binion in order to steal money and property, including large amounts of cash, from the casino heir’s safe. Murphy and Tabish, however, were later acquitted after winning new trials.

Ted Binion was a most unusual character. He was known to store large amounts of cash and valuables inside his home, and also buried treasure throughout Nevada.

Shortly after his death, Nevada investigators investigating the case discovered Tabish at the site of a 12-foot-deep safe Binion had dug on vacant land he owned in Pahrump. The concrete bunker contained cash, rare coins, silver dollars and casino chips worth up to $14 million. A construction contractor later confessed to building the vault for Binion after he was banned from Nevada’s gambling industry.

Although they were found not guilty of murder, Tabish and Murphy were later convicted of robbery and burglary. Tabish received 25 years to life and Murphy 22 years to life. Murphy was granted parole in 2003 and Tabish was released from prison in 2010.

Deadline in 2020 aired an episode documenting the murder mystery of retired FBI agent Scott Horn, who was a regular and last seen in 2017 at the Live! Casino and hotel in Maryland. His wife was charged with his murder, but acquitted. Horn’s murder remains unsolved.

Murphy denies any involvement

In clips aired by NBC, Murphy denies any involvement in Binion’s death.

I fell in love with Teddy. I thought he was awesome” Morgan disputes. “When you love someone, you don’t give up. I don’t think anyone can understand what it’s like to find someone you love without knowing if they’re alive or dead.

Tease a potential conclusion to a decades-old mystery, Deadline correspondent Keith Morrison tells viewers, “A crazy story that really never got added. Until… maybe now.

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