Former casino executive and LSU professor Michael Simon confirms Mathis' story. But, he adds, it's not that much different than the kind of data collection performed by companies like CVS, PetSmart, or Amazon.
"I teach an MBA class on database analysis and mining, and all the companies we study collect customer information and target offers specific to customer habits," he says. Simon, author of "The Game of My Life: A Personal Perspective of a Retired Gaming Executive," adds, "It's routine business practice today, and it's no secret. For example, I bring my dog to PetSmart for specific services and products, and the offers they send me are specific to my spending habits, and I like that. PetSmart on the other hand gives me what I want instead of wasting time sending me stuff I won't use like discounts on cat food or tropical fish."
One thing that is different: When Mathis was laid off in May 2012, he still had copies of the database in hand. When he tried to return it, he was out of luck -- the casino refused to return his calls. Talk about gambling with your data.
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