Palms squelches contest complaints

Oct 15, 2002 7:02 AM

A lesson learned.

"We tried something and the customers didn’t like it," was the simple, succinct response from Marc Nelson, director of ancillary gaming at Palms Casino Resort regarding a football contest drawing that accidentally went awry.

"People who were playing slots heavily were gaining a large number of entries into the NFL Monday night game drawing," Nelson said. "It turned out that the same 10 or so names were winning the $500 cash awards, which naturally we never expected."

Palms co-owner George Maloof told GamingToday that the incident was "blown out of proportion."

"Nothing improper was done and it gets to me how something innocent winds up making the papers," Maloof said. "It was a matter of us trying to incorporate everyone into the football drawing. The idea, in fact, came from one of our players."

The Palms gives away $5,000 in 10 separate $500 prizes every Monday night, with the prizes limited to customers who entered in the resort’s $400,000 seasonal Pigskin Payoff.

"Few people entered in the football contest played slots, so we wanted to open things up for others in the casino," Nelson said. "We misjudged the huge amount of slot play and the number of entries that could be accumulated into the contest. The customer reaction was extreme and caught us off guard, but it was an error on our part,"

Last Monday’s drawing in the game between Green Bay and Chicago went off without a hitch, according to Nelson. That was in sharp contrast to what occurred the previous week.

"The article in the Review-Journal was accurate," Nelson said. "What happened was a severe over-reaction by a small number of people, who got the room going. Since we changed the rules back to what they were, we have had nothing but good comments."

Nelson said the incident would result in a positive for the Palms in the long term.

"I don’t see this as a negative," he said. "The Maloof family (Palms owners) has a wonderful reputation of being customer-friendly. This was simply a case of trying to put a wrinkle into a good contest and winding up being a wrong decision."

Nelson said the results of the weekly Monday drawings will not affect the season-long contest.

"The whole issue was people who joined the contest feeling that slot players were getting additional entries, and they turned out to be right," he said. "The football entrants felt slighted and feelings were hurt. We feel the problem is fixed. We want our customers to be happy with anything done at the Palms."

Maloof said the weekly drawing would revert to its original rules, which restricted entries for the Monday night drawing to those customers entered in the football contest.