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Columbus casino bribes players with a COVID-19 vaccine

Senior Reporter

Never once in this lifetime has there been anything like this - a casino offering free slot play money if you get vaccinated for COVID-19 during a special event. And not just one, but two if you’re up for the Pfizer doses. The Columbus, Ohio, Hollywood casino has made a rather strange deal for players due to the low vaccination rate in the area. Only 36% of individuals in the region have received a shot, so the gambling industry took it upon itself to fix the issue.

Columbus casino bribes players with a COVID-19 vaccine
Hollywood Casino Columbus building. Image: hollywoodcolumbus.com

On Saturday, June 12, an event at the Hollywood casino offered any players over the age of 21 to come in and get their first vaccination in exchange for 10$ worth of free slot play. The following event (July 12) for the second round of the Pfizer vaccine will offer the same prize for those willing to get a jab. However, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is only limited to one prize, as only one dose is needed. This offer will remain valid for ten days after the first round, as well as the second. Don’t get too excited if you get the vaccine elsewhere - this will only be an available exchange for those who take the needle on sight.

But of course, it’s not the Live Dealers at the facility performing these procedures. Columbus Public Health is partnering with the casino to bring this peculiar event to life. Of course, the vaccine itself is free, and anyone over the age of 12 can receive it. However, to get this unique payout, you will need to sign up for a My Choice Loyalty program and use a voucher granted upon post-procedure.

How the collaboration came about?

The Columbus Department Department of Health sent representatives to the Hollywood casinos explaining that the area surrounding the facility has an alarmingly low vaccination rate compared to the rest of the city, and something needed to be done. In response to the issue, the casino’s owners offered their event center to host the free vaccines and offered $10 slot money as a complimentary “thank you” to those who participated.

“COVID-19 vaccines are the best tool we have to protect health and get to the other side of the pandemic, but we need to get more shots in arms” Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts stated.

Perhaps it was a severe concern to the medical experts in the area, thus prompting the proposition. What’s under question is why the Hollywood casino accepted this collaboration and why they would agree to give away such heaps of money.

What was in it for the Hollywood casino?

Although it appears to be an act of kindness on behalf of the casino, it’s nothing but a marketing tactic that would advertise the casino and bring more players in. The casino has struggled during the lockdown, and for a brief while, the building was completely closed, running the casino into somewhat of a ditch. This was a perfect opportunity for a clever “bounce-back” that already seems to be working in the casino’s favor.

Ten dollars is the kind of money most people wouldn’t want to spend at a gambling facility unless given freely - especially individuals who never gambled before. Introducing players to gambling by giving them free tokens is an intelligent tactic to secure their interest in further betting. Sure, some may say it was an act of “kindness and grace,” and perhaps there was a dash of those within the act. However, the casino gave away a considerable sum of money to the newly vaccinated and funds to host the events - so it clearly shows that there was also advertisement involved. Did it work? It sure did. Hundreds of individuals have been reported to attend the first event, and the word got out, spreading all over the news, acquainting the Hollywood casino to the rest of the world watching.

Summary

Bribing people to get a COVID-19 vaccine that’s already free is a somewhat questionable act. Even flu vaccines cost money unless covered by insurance. So why are we being paid to take vaccines we know very little about? Perhaps there is a reason why so many people feel the need to go on without a poke in the arm, and pushing it by offering “treats” is a strange way to promote the unknown. Besides, this isn’t the first time we’re witnessing this phenomenon. Many industries are offering free beer, donuts, and other unhealthy goodies for the vaccinated. Isn’t the vaccine supposed to promote health? If so, why offer things that will make you unwell? If anything, it seems like a massive opportunity for companies to benefit from the current world events in a rather sleazy way. As for the Hollywood casino - this was clearly a shot for success amid a crisis.

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