Published September 29, 2011
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The latest casino promotion in Atlantic City gives new meaning to "going bust."
The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort plans to give $25,000 worth of plastic surgery to a winner from a player's card contest. The lucky one can mix and match surgeries including breast enhancements, tummy tucks, liposuction and face lifts until the total hits $25,000.
"We wanted to change the face of a typical casino promotion, and with this one we are literally doing it," said Kathleen McSweeney, senior vice president of marketing for Trump Entertainment Resorts.
"Many people have something they want to change; a nip and tuck here, a lift there, but the cost of these procedures can be quite costly," she said. "This promotion will allow the winner the opportunity to get the procedures of their choice."
But some medical professionals worry the promotion could set a bad precedent by pairing two potentially compulsive behaviors.
Dr. Eda Gorbis - assistant professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and founder of the Westwood Institute for Anxiety Disorders in Los Angeles - said she has already seen cases of people struggling with excessive plastic surgery and excessive gambling, and has grown concerned about the connections.
"Definitely one thing reinforces the other one," she said. "Both are addictions, and they're bad addictions."
The casino promotion sets "a dangerous precedent," said Dr. Vivian Diller, a New York City psychologist, former professional model and author of Face It, a book about beauty and emotions.
"Especially women, but both women and men, are easily pulled by the pressures in today's culture to engage in procedures that are not well thought out," Diller said. "Plastic surgery is a complicated process.
"It's making it too simplistic," she said of the prize.
According to the web site infoplasticsurgery.com, which the casinos cite in their promotion, an arm lift can cost $5,000 to $6,500; Botox treatments range from $200 to $400 per area; breast augmentation surgery costs from $5,000 to $8,000; chin or cheek implants cost $3,000 to $4,500; and liposuction can range from $2,500 to $10,000.
A face-lift costs $7,000 to $9,000; nose surgery $5,000 to $6,000; and eyelid tucks $4,000 to $5,500 (upper and lower included).
"People often want this surgery but they're reluctant to spend their own money to do it," McSweeney said. "Whether it's kids' tuition, or the mortgage or they just don't have that kind of money, this is their opportunity to get it done."
Players can earn credits toward the contest from Oct. 2 through 29. The winner must be present with his or her player's card inserted into a machine when the prize is awarded the last day of the contest.
The winner can opt for the $25,000 prize in cash if he or she doesn't want the surgery.