|If you’ve seen those co-branded credit cards from WWF, Yahoo and other companies partnering with Visa or MasterCard then here’s more. A credit card for gamblers!|
Park Place Entertainment is promoting a new Caesars Entertainment-branded MasterCard. The credit in its first week of launch, is already generating discredit with anti-gambling and few banking officials calling it the ‘unholy alliance’.
Wilmington, Del.-based Juniper Bank, a full-service credit card issuer are currently issuing the card, for Park Place Entertainment and the MBNA Bank which offered a similar Visa credit card program through Harrah’s Entertainment for several years.
Customers of the new MasterCard can avail of their ‘comp’ when they gamble or spend for any service at Caesars, Bally’s, Paris, Flamingo and Grand Casinos resorts and other amenities at 15 casino resorts in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. MasterCard officials say the new card is not a money-making initiative, but just a good incentive for customers.
Durand Jacobs, a clinical professor of psychological and behavioral sciences at Loma Linda University Medical School in California is worried that problem gamblers, who largely use credit cards for gambling, would use this credit card. Consumer debt in the U.S has soared by 400 percent in the last ten years.
Casino industry expert Bill Thompson says, ‘This is an unhealthy relationship that is likely to spread, and this relationship that should not be brought into casinos’.
‘Our program has been very successful in terms of customer acceptance and driving added business into casinos,’ says David Norton, Harrah’s senior vice president for relationship marketing.
But critics from the anti-gambling lobby say credit cards are a way to pass customer losses and bad debt off onto the general public.
For now, with the Christmas season and the shopping spirit, one would agree that the credit card is the greatest thing ever invented after sliced bread. Some use it for shopping, while others use it for gambling.