Casino’s ‘Fat Tuesday’ Promotion Rewards Overweight Gamblers by the Pound

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We hear a lot about the high costs of being overweight—that, for instance, obesity adds $150 billion to our annual health care costs. Yesterday, though, at a casino in Florida, there was a financial bonus for being heavy: Patrons stepped on a scale and received 10¢ in slot credits for each pound they weighed.

To kick off the ultra-indulgent party season of Mardi Gras, the Gulfstream Park Casino celebrated Fat Tuesday quite literally with what it called a “Fat Tuesday Frenzy.” According to the terms of the promotion, all customers were welcomed to be weighed on a scale inside the casino, and the casino rewarded each patron with a dime in free play for each pound registered.

Michael Goldin, Gulfstream’s director of marketing, told the Sun-Sentinel that the event doesn’t promote obesity—because the rewards aren’t that great:

“If you gain 10 pounds, you get a buck in free play,” he says.

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The event did, however, feature free all-you-can-eat Krispy Kreme donuts, which were handed out to gamblers throughout the day. The casino quickly ran out of its original order of 7,000 donuts, and had to have another 3,000 donuts brought in.

Many strategists wolfed down their donuts before their weigh-in, in order to maximize the weight-based payoff. The casino’s scale maxed out at 500 pounds, and the free play bonus was limited to a maximum of $50—and yes, one man earned it Tuesday, reports a South Florida NBC station.

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Goldin told the station that patrons also could have elected to not be weighed. All customers received a minimum credit of $15, awarded to those who weighed less than 150 lbs. or who chose not to hop on the scale in front of hundreds of strangers. “But,” Gold said, “99 percent got on the scale, they want that money.”

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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