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Casino snakes: How powerful is social media? Snakebite message harms business

Snake on carpet in a local building
Snake on carpet in a local buildingCourtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Casino snakes allegedly infesting a Pennsylvania gambling resort have raised new questions about the potency of online gossip this Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. While the casino has adamantly denied such claims, the Inquisitr reveals a new stance on this strange story today: how powerful is social media in spreading a potential rumor? While reports from casino spokespeople and even police authorities have dismissed claims that snakebites are common at the casino, a rogue Facebook message was enough to harm overall business and warrant the public objection from the resort.

This casino snakes rumor began with a mere social media post — on the widely used Facebook site, no less — in which a gambler at the casino claimed to have visited the doctor for a snakebite. When the victim told the medical professional that he had been to the Sands Casino Resort in Pennsylvania recently, the doctor allegedly said that he heard of people getting bitten by snakes there frequently.

In a matter of days, the message went viral online, being spread hundreds of times and evidently hurting business, as the rumor of snakes in the casino finally reached the troubled ears of resort officials. In order to assuage patrons that there was no threat to the public of a serpentine infestation or suffering a snakebite, both police authorities and spokespeople denied these untrue allegations.

“[There are] absolutely zero snakes in this place,” confirmed one law enforcement official who works in the Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem.

Yet new questions following this casino snakes case are raised: what are people willing to believe when posted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, how quickly can these rumors spread, and how might they affect — or harm — the businesses involved? With something as simple as a local resident claiming that a doctor asked if his snakebite occurred at Sands Casino, a national trend flourished on the Web.

The casino itself was finally also forced to state the following announcement, affirming there are indeed no snakes at the gambling resort: “There have been no reported incidents of snakes on our property. We do not allow any animals on property with the exception of service animals.”

“If I saw a snake I would jump on a table. If there was any sighting of this there would be no way that we couldn’t know about it,” added the spokeswoman on a personal note.

She believes the fear of casino snakes began with that single message on Facebook (which has since been deleted) inciting unnecessary and unfounded fear in patrons.

“It seems like there was one post that was going around and then it’s been kind of modified in a bunch of different directions.”

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