PETA believes it has a sure bet for Foxwoods

Call it creative marketing. Or strange bedfellows.

By any name, the world's largest animal-rights organization and Foxwoods Resort Casino would seem to be an unlikely pairing.

But PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - insists its offer to help lift the Mashantucket Pequot-owned casino out of financial quicksand is sincere. Tracy Reiman, PETA's executive vice president, delivered the pitch this week in a letter to William Satti, the tribe's director of public affairs.

"We have a proposition that would be a royal flush for Foxwoods by providing you with some much-needed funds while promoting healthier eating," Reiman writes. "We have designed an eye-catching ad that reads, 'Don't Gamble on Your Health - Go Vegan!' and we'd be willing to pay to place it on your slot machines."

The offer, Reiman says in the letter, is "in response to news reports that Foxwoods will soon be forced to default on debt payments."

On Monday, the tribe announced it had paid only a portion of a $21.25 million bond interest payment due that day and doesn't expect to pay the balance of more than $7 million by the end of a 30-day grace period that expires Dec. 16.

Satti acknowledged receipt of PETA's letter Friday and said he would be forwarding it to the "proper parties."

PETA has also offered to send its Lettuce Ladies - "women dressed in bikinis made of strategically placed lettuce leaves" - to the casino to pass out free vegan snacks as part of the promotion.

A number of PETA staff members have worn the outfits at previous promotions, according to Lindsay Rajt, manager of the organization's campaign department, who said lettuce-clad women distributed vegan hot dogs at events in some of the "10 fattest cities" in the country, as determined by Men's Fitness magazine. The list included Las Vegas, which was fourth on the list.

Rajt couldn't say how much PETA would invest in advertising at Foxwoods, adding, "We'd be willing to negotiate that."

PETA, which boasts more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide, opposes the consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs because of the role they play in causing heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes and because of the suffering it says is inflicted on animals during their slaughter.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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