Monday, July 02, 2007

SOUND OFF: ARE CASINOS STACKING THE DECKS AGAINST ASIANS?

My readers were split on whether it was wrong for casinos to aggressively target the Asian community.

"Seems to me like just good marketing," writes Tom Steel of Windsor, Ontario, who likens the practice to Las Vegas casinos that have marketed to Hawaiians for years.

"We can't fault the casinos for pressing their advantage with a certain demographic," writes Brian Hurley of Brooklyn. "It's a free market. We can't pick and choose which people to defend from an industry's marketing plan."

But Jason Wiener of West Hartford, Conn., believes that it's appropriate to condemn this approach.

"(Casinos are) as immoral as any tobacco company," he writes. "They design their product to be as addictive as possible, and feed off the weakness of their clientele."

On the other hand, Shmuel Ross of East Boston, Mass., considers the question about targeting Asians to miss the point.

"If the effective marketing of gambling has detrimental effects," Ross writes, "it really doesn't matter what group is being targeted. The real question is whether there ought to be any marketing at all."

Check out other opinions at The Right Thing: SOUND OFF: CASINOS TARGETING ASIAN CLIENTELE, or post your own by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from (city, state or province), as well as where you read the column.

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