WASHINGTON - More than 12,000 gaming employees and their companies mobilized during the first annual American Gaming Association (AGA) Casino Charity Challenge, volunteering 4,266 hours of time and contributing $250,896 to more than 40 local and national charities, including Adopt-a-Highway, American Heart Association, area battered women shelters, community fire departments, March of Dimes, local Meals on Wheels programs, Multiple Sclerosis Society, senior citizen centers and the YMCA.
Volunteers from 65 AGA member casino properties and offices of gaming equipment manufacturers located in 28 commercial-casino jurisdictions nationwide participated in and/or organized numerous charitable activities, including walk-a-thons, Special Olympics events, raffles, community clean-up and revitalization efforts, car washes and senior citizen assistance programs.
One Casino Charity Challenge activity, a book drive in Las Vegas organized by AGA members, was the largest charitable commitment of casino companies in a single area. Employees at casino properties and corporate headquarters of Boyd Gaming Corporation, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., Mandalay Resort Group, MGM MIRAGE and Station Casinos, Inc., donated new or gently used books to area Boys & Girls Club libraries, as well as to local charities Classroom on Wheels and Child Haven.
Other companies that participated in the challenge are Ameristar Casinos, Inc.; Argosy Gaming Company; Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.; International Game Technology; and Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. Their contributions and volunteerism helped communities in 10 states, including Rincon, Calif.; Black Hawk, Colo.; Alton, Joliet and Metropolis, Ill.; East Chicago and Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Bettendorf, Council Bluffs, Davenport and Sioux City, Iowa; Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Shreveport, La.; Lula, Natchez, Tunica and Vicksburg, Miss.; Columbia, Kansas City and St. Charles, Mo.; Henderson, Jackpot, Jean, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; and Atlantic City, N.J.
“Our members’ commitment to charitable causes in their communities can be seen nearly every day, through employee volunteerism and corporate donations,” said AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. “And while our individual activities are significant, when we work together as an industry, we can have an even greater impact.”
The Casino Charity Challenge was officially scheduled for Memorial Day week, from May 27 to June 2; however, some companies participating in the challenge held philanthropic activities beyond that week.
After completing the Casino Charity Challenge activity, each participating company tallied the total number of employee volunteers, the total employee volunteer hours and the total dollar amount raised for charity. Companies reported their final numbers to the AGA, which combined the companies’ figures to come up with an industrywide total for employee volunteers, volunteer hours and charitable donations.
The Casino Charity Challenge concept centers on a single industrywide week of volunteerism during which AGA member companies from across the country simultaneously sponsor philanthropic projects in their local communities. This week will serve as the largest mobilization of casino industry employee-volunteers that has ever been attempted, building on all the philanthropic activities in which the industry has participated throughout the past year.
The AGA represents the commercial casino-entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues. The association also serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.