Harrah's Coupon Error to Cost $5.8 Million
By Betsy Spethmann
Nov 23, 2005 6:09 AM
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. could spend as much as $5.8 million making good on a coupon printing error that surfaced last week at Harrah's Joliet Casino.
A mailing to Total Rewards loyalty cardholders included a coupon that members could redeem at the casino near Chicago. Only 15 or so coupons were supposed to be worth $525 each; a printing error resulted in 11,000 coupons worth $525, totaling nearly $5.8 million in all.
The coupons were bar-coded, but most codes didn't match the $525 printed on the coupon's face. Casino staffers turned away a number of cardholders because the bar codes didn't match the face value, according to Gene O'Shea, public information officer for the Illinois Gaming Board.
"There were 40 or 50 people on the main floor of the casino, and they were very angry," O'Shea said. The board quickly investigated, then ordered the casino to honor all the coupons.
Harrah's blamed the mistake on vendor error, O'Shea said. The gaming board is continuing its investigation.
The board is still getting calls from consumers, too. Some had been contacted by Harrah's Joliet (vie e-mail and voicemail), which said the coupons were invalid. Many tore the coupons up, O'Shea said. But the board is advising consumers to go to the casino whether they've still got the coupon or not.
"We're telling people to go in with their driver's license. The casino knows who they are," O'Shea said.
Harrah's declined to comment on the situation.