Article published on 14 May 2012

Caesars Entertainment Slammed for Cross Promotion

Caesars Entertainment Comes Under Fire
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Caesars Entertainment has come under fire by Canadian gambling authorities for a promotion offer which threatened to "cannibalize" Caesars Windsor in Ontario.

The group was slammed for sending out promotional material to Ontarians, asking them to "make their presence known" at the group's new Horseshoe Casino Cleveland across the border. To encourage members of Caesars Total Rewards program to visit the casino, they were offered $5 free to play slots.

The move was criticized by the Finance Minister of Ontario, Dwight Duncan, who said that the promotion was a "boneheaded move".

The message of his displeasure was passed on to Ontario Lottery and Gambling which, in turn, informed Caesars Entertainment. As a result, the Chief Operating Officer of Caesars Entertainment personally apologized to the OLG for the promotion.

"It was inappropriate for us to try and cannibalize Caesars Windsor," said a spokesperson for the giant gambling group.

In response, a spokesman for OLG, Tony Bitonti, said: "No Caesars property will cross promote in the future without the consent of Caesars Windsor."

The promotion was handled by Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas. "Caesars Windsor wasn't involved in these marketing efforts," noted Bitonti. "They were caught off guard. When they were caught off guard, we were caught off guard too."

Salt in the Wounds of Casino Workers

The opposition was hugely critical of Caesars Entertainment's cross promotion, considering that Ontario had shut down slot machines at the local raceway in order to protect jobs at Caesars Windsor - and then, ironically, a week later, 27 people were laid off from the casino. Caesars Windsor employs around 2,500 people.

"The fact that Caesars Entertainment is mailing a flyer to its [Canadian] patrons, encouraging them to take their entertainment dollars to the US, is salt in the wounds to the workers of our community," said Essex MPP for the NDP, Taras Natyshak. "We need folks in Ontario to spend their dollars at gaming facilities not only in Windsor but across the province."

In a press conference, Natyshak said that the issue was "about the importance of protecting Canadian jobs and making sure we're looking after the workers at Caesars Windsor because the reality is we need to keep these jobs in the community of Windsor."

After Caesars Entertainment apologized for the cross promotion, Natyshak said it was a victory for casino workers at Caesars Windsor.

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