Revel in Atlantic City was designed as a Las Vegas-style resort on the city’s famous Boardwalk; but a rocky start caused the casino to file for bankruptcy just ten months after it opened – one of the most disastrous starts for a casino in recent memory.

Summer “Refunds”

That’s why Revel designed special summer promotions, in an effort to get players back through the casino’s doors. In an ad campaign that admitted things got off to a rough beginning, Revel invited players back in July, with the promise of a “can’t lose” promotion on slot machines. According to the ads, players would receive all of their losses back on slots through to the end of the month, a deal that many gamblers simply couldn’t pass up.

Unfortunately, many players didn’t read the fine print. And when they found out exactly what the promotion entailed, some weren’t happy with what they’d have to do to get their refunds.

“I have a very different definition of a ‘refund’ than the Revel and I believe a majority of other folks would agree that a refund implies that you will receive a full reimbursement of funds,” customer Ed Conti told The Star-Ledger after visiting Revel. “I don’t feel it is right.”

Read the Fine Print

The fine print on the offer from the casino makes the promotion a little less incredible than it may seem at first. Some of the restrictions are rather tame: gamblers must lose at least $100 to qualify, the loss rebates are capped at $100,000, and table game losses aren’t covered.

It’s the way in which the “refunds” are given to players that has Conti and others upset. Players can receive their refunds only 5 percent at a time, with each “block” of 5 percent being offered in one of the 20 weeks after the promotion ends. If a gambler doesn’t visit the casino in a given week, they won’t be able to receive that percentage of their refund. In addition, the refund doesn’t pay out in cash, but in free play credits that can be used in the machines; it cannot be directly cashed out.

Some might say that a few conditions on an offer such as this one are to be expected: after all, it would be foolish to think that a casino could simply give back all of its winnings to customers, even over a short period of time. However, the fact that the details of the “refund” program are flashed on television ads for only a second and in very small print could mean that Revel is skirting laws on clarity in advertising, if not actually breaking them.

Regardless of the legal standing of the ad, the nature of the promotion has turned off at least one gambler from visiting Revel again.

“When I told my mom about this she said, ‘That’s not what the ad on TV said,’” Conti said. “My mom has not gone to the Revel and will not go in the future.”