Some months back, we had our first experience of an Oklahoma casino advertising a promotion and then not honoring it. It was a $25 match play (worth driving for) and we’d driven about an hour out of our way to take advantage of it. When we arrived, it was still being advertised on the big electronic sign in the parking lot. We went in, played our $25, and WTF? The little grey stack of coins never turned blue. Right about then, the PA system went loud. Attention, attention, our advertised match play promotion has been replaced by these wonderful drawings…

We got screwed. It was the last weekend of the month, and they apparently had decided not to continue the month-long promotion to the end of the month. Instead, they wanted to start people working on earning entries for their newest drawings promotion. People who drove to play at their facility based on the advertised offer? Just out of luck.

The casinos make the rules, they are effectively unregulated (or self-regulated, which amounts to something very similar), and they all have “We reserve the right to change or alter promotions at any time” weasel words prominently posted somewhere. There isn’t a thing that we, the gambling consumers, can do about this. In legalese, there’s no available redress when we are wronged by a casino that chooses not to honor its advertised promotions.

However, it’s still sleazy and wrong and shameful. Oklahoma casinos are fundamentally rural. There is a lot of open space in Oklahoma, and people use promotions in deciding where to go and how far to drive. Gasoline is expensive and our time is valuable. If you advertise a promotion, you should honor that promotion.

Furthermore, in the event that a promotion is altered or eliminated, there should be substantial efforts made to alert the gambling public. Websites and recorded telephone messages advertising the promotion should be changed, and there should be prominent signage at the casino entrance alerting consumers to the change.

The only things we gamblers can do to “enforce” this standard is to take our gambling dollars to the casinos that play fair, honor their advertised promotions, and strive mightily to alert gamblers when an advertised promotion will not be honored for some good reason. And to do that, we need to have some way of knowing which casinos fall short of that standard. It’s our intention here at Okie Gamblers to document the shady promotional practices we experience, and we encourage our readers to email and comment regarding any such problems they have encountered.

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