Expensive promotional mistake

A US land-based casino that accidentally sent vouchers to more people than than it could afford to has been forced to ask thousands of customers to give it a break, reports Associated Press.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course designed a promo that rewarded 1 000 loyal VIP customers with free slot-machine playing credits. But instead of reaching the elite 1 000 clients, the promotion was inadvertently sent to 55 000 people, and if they all claim the reward, the casino could be on the hook for $29 million, the news agency reports.

Hollywood Casino executives decided Monday to partially honour the offer after frantically calling tens of thousands of customers over the weekend. The mistake was first reported by WGAL-TV, which said customers had already started trying to take advantage of the offer that took effect Monday.

The reward programme offered $100 in slots credits per week from December 1 through January 4, plus two free visits to the buffet at the casino in Grantville, about 15 miles northeast of Harrisburg, said Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers. But then the direct mailing company used by the casino let it down, sending the promo to a far wider client base, Schippers said.

If all 55 000 customers were allowed to redeem $100 credits for five straight weeks, plus two $14 buffet visits, it would cost the casino more than $29 million, he said.

In an attempt to cut its loss, Schippers said Monday that the casino is offering $100 in credits per customer and two buffet passes, if they are redeemed by Christmas. "Rather than say 'Sorry, it was an error,' we've said 'Sorry, let's try to come up with what we think is a reasonable redemption plan,"' he said.

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