According to a survey conducted by the American Gaming Association (AGA), every year, the gaming companies spend thousands of hours and more than US$100 million in charitable donations. Philanthropic efforts towards children, the destitute, food to the hungry and cleaning the society are some of the initiatives taken up by the online gaming industry to give back to the community. So, the gaming industry might be about making money but it does retain it community consciousness and takes social responsibility.
Contribution in Different Forms
Charitable contributions made by the gaming industry include:
- Direct corporate contributions
- In-kind contribution of non-cash goods
- Employee fundraising events
- Contributing through individual corporate-affiliated foundations
In 2012, commercial gaming companies that participated in the AGA survey contributed US$142 million, of which US$135.78 million consisted of charitable contributions and US$5.97 million was cash equivalent of time spent by employees for charitable purposes. Direct corporate contributions of US$116.93 million were made in the form of donations to non-profit organizations and charities that are involved in benefitting senior citizens, health services, education, health civic organizations and the environment. Either through company sponsored fundraising events or through independent contributions, huge amounts are donated for charitable purposes. The contributions were not limited to cash alone. In-kind contribution of non-cash goods summed up to a cash equivalent of US$5.84 million in 2012. The contribution came in different forms. Donations were made in the form of school supplies, food and beverages to help the people in need and more.
Volunteering to Make a Difference to the Society
Apart from contributions in cash and kind, philanthropic efforts extended to volunteering to make a difference to the community. Many gaming companies have a policy or program that encourages the employees to actively take part in volunteer events. The companies organize volunteer events, such as cancer awareness programs and better environment initiatives, to make a difference to the society. Here is one such example.
Philanthropic Efforts by Harrah’s – One of the Largest Gambling Companies
Harrah, one of the largest gambling companies in the world with US$8.9 billion in annual revenue offers, offers grants to nonprofits organizations associated with health, youth, senior citizens and other causes. Harrah organized disaster relief programs for casino workers and their families who had to face severe consequences due to Hurricane Katrina. The gambling company contributes to the National Center for Responsible Gaming and the American Gaming Association that conduct research on gambling-related “disorders.”
Harrah contributes to promote goodwill among the communities that might be impacted by the presence of casinos.
The Other End of the Spectrum – How to Raise Money from Casinos
Communities can explore, encourage and promote the philanthropic practices in the gaming and casino industry. Given below are some of the ways to raise money:
- Some casinos make sure that their employees are into philanthropic activities: Often, the employees contribute to charitable activities through pay roll deductions. Non-profit organizations can be benefitted out of these casino and online gaming companies.
- Casinos opened in local communities are keen to contribute to the welfare of the community. The companies contribute for education in terms of tuition, scholarships and school supplies. Non-profit organizations can approach local casinos in the local community for donations.
- When the casinos apply for government licenses, government and local communities can encourage the gambling industry to donate to a good cause during the licensing and regulating processes.
- Non-profit organizations can get in touch with the community foundations that get donations from the gaming industry.
- Casino owners, who have made it big, can be approached for supporting various social causes.
- Look for Indian tribes that are into gaming. The United States recognize Indian tribes as sovereign nations that can set up casinos on their sovereign territories; otherwise, one cannot set up a casino in a state that does not allow them. Non-profits should get in touch with Indian tribes creating foundations and grant making tools.
The bottom line is that the philanthropic efforts have a positive impact on local communities. So, despite the widely held perception of the gaming industry, we have learnt one good thing – the art of giving.