Caesars sorry for trying to 'cannibalize' Windsor casino

A spokesperson for OLG said chair and chief operating officer of gaming giant Caesars Entertainment has apologized for a promotion it sent gamblers in Ontario.
Caesars Entertainment managers Ontario's casino in Windsor. (CBC News)

Caesars Entertainment has apologized for a promotion it mailed to gamblers in Ontario.

The flyers encourage Caesars Total Rewards program members who live in Ontario to "make their presence known" at Caesars' newest facility, Horseshoe Casino Cleveland. The flyers come with an offer of $5 free slots play in Cleveland.

"It was inappropriate for us to try and cannibalize Caesars Windsor," Caesars Entertainment spokesperson Gary Thompson said.

A spokesperson for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said the chair and chief operating officer of Caesars Entertainment also personally apologized for the promotion.

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan called the comps and promotion "a boneheaded move."

He said Friday he instructed OLG to pass the message on to Caesars Entertainment, which manages Ontario’s casino in Windsor, Ont.

"No Caesars property will cross promote in the future without the consent of Caesars Windsor," OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said.

Thompson said the promotion was "mishandled" and sent from Las Vegas, where Caesars owns 10 properties.

Opposition critical

In the Legislature earlier this week, Essex NDP MPP Taras Natyshak questioned the flyer, which was mailed out to some people in Windsor.

He also asked Duncan why the province closed slot machines at Windsor Raceway to protect jobs at Caesars, only to see the casino lay off 27 employees a week later.

"The fact that Caesars Windsor, which is owned by this government, is mailing a flyer to its patrons, encouraging them to take their entertainment dollars to the U.S., is salt in the wounds to the workers of our community," Natyshak said.

"We need folks in Ontario to spend their dollars at gaming facilities not only in Windsor, but across the province," Natyshak said at a separate media conference Friday outside Caesars.

Duncan said the "game playing that's going on by people like Natyshak ... needs to stop" because Caesars Windsor is promoted by Caesars Entertainment in other communities.

Natyshak later learned Caesars apologized and promised to stop the mass mailings and called it "a victory for local casino workers."

Approximately 2,500 people work at Caesars Windsor.