Vaccines rapidly becoming a new gambling marketing tool

Jon Pill
Posted on: April 03, 2021 20:25 PDT

There is nothing under the sun that Corporate America cannot sell you. Or failing that, use to sell you something else.

One of the latest examples of this phenomenon is the weaponization of COVID-19 vaccines as a promotional tool. Krispy Kreme is one of the highest-profile examples. The delicious snack-ufacturer now offers a free original glazed donut to anyone who can show a vaccination certificate.

The casino industry has followed suit this week.

Gun Lake Casino in West Michigan is one of the most forward-thinking of these promoters. Starting April 5, 2021, the casino is offering $20 worth of free slot play to anyone who turns up with a Gun Lake loyalty card and a COVID-19 vaccine certificate. The casino describes the promotion as "a special thank you for your commitment to keeping our community safe."

Their website also specifies that you must be fully vaccinated. So you need to have had both your shots if you had the Moderna or Bio-N-Tech jabs. Johnson & Johnson vaccinatees only need the one pin-prick.

The promo is only available once per person.

Other casinos have taken a more subtle tack in bending the vaccination program to their advantage. Promotional offers for vaccinated players are just the start.

The Rio is offering up some of its huge convention rooms as vaccination hubs. Caesars Entertainment has the lease on the Rio until at least the end of this year's WSOP. It is using the site mostly to vaccinate its own workers.

Good bros and workplace safety

Caesars' publicity game cuts two ways. Caesars' reputation gains the shine of being a good Samaritan helping out the community. And they signal very firmly to the world at large that Caesars has a vaccinated workforce. The idea is to make Caesars seem safe. Ideally, before any of the other casinos get in on the game. It's a well-played hand.

Caesars' idea already has competition. MGM Resorts, Nevada's biggest employer, is using its casinos to deliver vaccines in Vegas. It is also using the MGM Grand in Detroit for the same purpose.

"We’re committed to doing all that we can to help get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible," MGM spokesman Brian Ahern said in a statement. He continued, "We're removing barriers to access and bringing vaccination clinics directly to our employees."

Two other casino operators, Las Vegas Sands and Station Casinos are getting their own programs up and running. In the latter case, the vaccination program also extends to the immediate family of company employees.

"The safety and wellbeing of our team members and their families has been our primary focus throughout the pandemic," said Bob Finch, chief operating officer of Station Casinos. "And we are thrilled to be able to take this next step. We're providing vaccines to team members and their families in a fast, safe, and convenient manner."

In all four cases, the focus of the marketing is the assistance to the community. In practice, the major advantage is for the employer.

Still, if it gets more mRNA into more arms, then the duplicity is hard to get too wound up about.

Featured image source: Flickr by Jernej Furman