HARRISBURG, Pa. – A casino gambled and lost – big time. Now it’s asking thousands of customers to give it a break.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course set out to do something nice for its best customers, rewarding 1,000 of them with free slot-machine playing credits.
But instead of the elite 1,000, the promotion was sent to 55,000 people. If they all claim the reward, the casino could be on the hook for $29 million.
Hollywood Casino executives decided Monday to partially honor the offer after frantically calling tens of thousands of customers during the weekend.
The mistake was first reported by WGAL-TV, which said some customers already have begun trying to take advantage of the offer that took effect Monday.
The reward program was for $100 in slots credits per week from Dec. 1 through Jan. 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.
Schippers said the mistake occurred at a direct mailing business that he declined to identify.
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 a bid to cut its loss, Schippers said Monday 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.
Schippers said he did not know what might happen if a customer were to insist on the terms of the mailing.