Here’s a sampling of sustainability efforts from commercial gaming companies across the country. Some companies that provided the case studies below chose to highlight specific programs or initiatives while others showcased their overall environmental sustainability efforts. Click here for more information about each of these companies’ corporate social responsibility efforts.
Ameristar Casinos, Inc. – Reducing, Reusing and Recycling its Way to Sustainability
Ameristar Casinos, Inc. actively strives to reduce the environmental impact of its business activities without sacrificing the experiences of its guests or team members. To do this, the company focuses on practices aimed at energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
Ameristar is committed to doing the right thing to support this effort, and throughout the past few years, it has made company-wide changes to be socially responsible. Efforts include changing significant amounts of incandescent lighting to compact florescent or LED (light-emitting diode). More energy savings have been achieved through the use of energy efficient lamps and other conservation strategies.
Ameristar also is combining environmental awareness with care and compassion by donating leftover, nutritiously-prepared food to local food pantries though food rescue programs that help those in need. Its hotel staffs also collect used soaps and shampoo and donate them to “Clean the World,” a non-profit organization that distributes recycled soap products, along with appropriate educational materials, to impoverished countries and domestic homeless shelters.
Additionally, each Ameristar property, including its corporate headquarters, hosts recycling efforts such as turning food waste into compost and topsoil and recycling cardboard and plastic bottles.
Boyd Gaming Corporation – Saving Loads of Resources with a Central Laundry Facility
Every day, Las Vegas casinos send hundreds of thousands of pounds of laundry through washers and dryers, but as Boyd Gaming has discovered, the traditional laundry system isn’t exactly keeping things clean. The tremendous amount of electricity, detergent, natural gas and water needed to do that laundry have an effect on the ecosystem, so when Boyd sought ways to decrease its environmental footprint in 2007, it looked to the 55,000 pounds of laundry produced by its nine Las Vegas properties.
What resulted is a 100,000-square-foot facility that centralizes the properties’ laundry system and streamlines it to reduce waste. Not only was the facility built sustainably with reused and recycled materials, but compared to other facilities that wash a similar volume, Boyd Central Laundry uses 27 percent less electricity and 47 percent less natural gas, reducing its carbon output by 40 percent. It also saves 22 million gallons of water a year. In 2009, the building earned its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming the first and only laundry facility in the country to earn that distinction.
In addition to Boyd Central Laundry, the company has pushed forward in recent years to help the environment in several other areas. In the past three years, for instance, it has lowered its annual electricity usage by more than 17 million kilowatt-hours—a cut that has resulted in a more than $1.4 million reduction in its energy bill.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation – Driving Green Initiatives Coast-to-Coast
Caesars Entertainment engages in several national signature initiatives that address environmental sustainability through innovative, collaborative efforts with philanthropic partners.
“CodeGreen At Home” is an employee-focused sustainability program designed to encourage employees to adopt eco-friendly practices in their homes. By engaging employees in these efforts, the company not only enhances its CodeGreen teams – its sustainability advocates and leaders – but it also inspires whole communities.
In addition to the “At Home” program, Caesars coordinates multiple signature events across the CodeGreen initiative, including the National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day – a grassroots movement that encourages children and families to get outside and explore local, state and national parks in their community. In 2012, more than 3,500 people attended these events, which educate children on their environmental responsibility. More than 30 Caesars Entertainment Corporation properties in 19 communities across the country have hosted National Park Trust events.
Caesars also has sponsored the Big Green Bus Tour (BGBT), an initiative in which Dartmouth College students travel coast-to-coast on a bus with a fuel system converted to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO) in an effort to educate and engage the public about energy conservation and environmental sustainability. Caesars has contributed to BGBT through monetary and in-kind donations, including refueling the bus with thousands of gallons of recycled WVO from its resorts and casinos.
Additionally, Las Vegas Meetings by Caesars Entertainment collects leftover convention supplies such as notepads, pens and other useable materials and donates them to The Public Education Foundation for use in classrooms. The company and its charitable arm, the Caesars Foundation, have given nearly $1.5 million to aid in funding the program and purchase school supplies.
Since 2010, the Caesars Foundation has committed $250,000 to help the Clean the World Foundation open a Las Vegas recycling operations facility. Last year, Caesars’ U.S. properties donated more than 46 tons of recycled soap and bottled amenities to impoverished communities around the world, helping to save lives by decreasing acute respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases resulting from lack of soap and health education.
Watch the videos below for more information on Caesars' environmental sustainability initiatives.
International Game Technology – Showing that ‘Green Matters’
Long before going “green” became a buzzword for companies, International Game Technology (IGT) was seeking ways to help the environment. In 2009, their commitment to the environment was recognized by Newsweek when they were named one of the “Top 500 Green Companies in the U.S.”
IGT has taken a broad-based approach to reducing its environmental impact, which it describes in its white paper, “Green Matters: A comprehensive review of IGT and its environmental impact.” Its efforts range from recycling millions of materials and renovating lights to reduce energy consumption, to saving 15 million gallons of water per year at its Reno office and creating an internal IGT Energy Task Force to educate its employees and identify green initiatives.
One success story came in 2008 when IGT Traffic Supervisor Mike Hancock set to out find ways to combine machine shipments. From July through November of that year, IGT had 179 fewer trucks on the road, resulting in a reduction of 840,000 pounds of carbon emissions and 38,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
In 2006, IGT began implementing environmentally-friendly manufacturing initiatives. It now uses lighting that is three times more efficient than industry standards, it applies energy efficient LED backlighting in its machines and it is creating machines that comply with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive—even for machine parts manufactured outside of Europe.
Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. – Offering a Fresh Way to Buffet
As the gaming industry has proven throughout the “All In” campaign, there are endless unique ways to improve the community through corporate social responsibility. When it comes to environmental sustainability, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. has addressed the issue with the February 2012 opening of its new Farmer’s Pick Buffet at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel in Boonville, Mo.
Isle guests can now enjoy the best local, seasonal foods at this year-round buffet. Using everything from meat and produce to dairy and wines from local producers doesn’t just mean a fresh product and healthy choices for its customers; it’s also an environmentally sustainable decision. Local ingredients mean less travel time and distance for delivery, which reduces the resources used for transportation and the energy required to preserve out-of-season foods or those produced far away from the casino.
MGM Resorts International – Listed Among the Country’s Greenest Companies
MGM Resorts International has a strategic plan for environmental sustainability that focuses on five areas: energy and water conservation; green building; recycling and waste management; a sustainable supply chain; and outreach and education.
Because of these efforts, MGM was ranked third of all hotel and restaurant industry companies on Newsweek’s 2012 list of Greenest Companies. The company’s overall ranking – 122nd – was the highest of any casino resort company and 35 places higher than its 2011 position. As a result of its best practices, MGM Resorts has reduced its annual carbon emissions—which it has publicly reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project for four years running—by 100,000 metric tons.
When it comes to energy and water conservation, in the past five years, MGM Resorts has achieved a total savings of more than 300 million kilowatt hours of electricity, 500,000 MMBtu of natural gas, and 1.9 billion gallons of water. In 2011, its engineers designed and created their own customized light emitting diode (LED) model for use underwater. Using 75 percent less energy than their predecessors, these fixtures are now put to use in the lake feature at Bellagio in Las Vegas.
In terms of green building, CityCenter in Las Vegas achieved six LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certifications, making it the largest new environmentally sustainable development in the world. Additionally, Mandalay Bay, ARIA and Vdara have earned Green Key Global’s Five-Key rating, an elite eco-rating certification granted to fewer than 2 percent of participating Green Key hotels, motels and resorts.
Within its properties, MGM Resorts has achieved an overall recycling rate of 37.9 percent – more than four times the Las Vegas average. This includes 14,000 tons of food waste that was either composted or used as animal feed just last year.
As for a sustainable supply chain, the Mirage and Bellagio have purchased compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled limousines that operate 15 percent more efficiently with approximately a 40 percent decrease in fuel costs over gasoline powered vehicles.
Lastly, MGM is striving to conduct outreach and education. In 2011, ARIA hosted the annual National Clean Energy Summit, which was attended by Vice President Joe Biden. It also has staged a “meeting of the minds” among leaders in the field of clean energy.
Penn National Gaming – Going Green in Pennsylvania and Ohio
Penn National Gaming (Penn) is proud to have three properties on the cutting edge of environmental excellence. It began these environmental efforts with what it refers to as its “triple bottom line perspective”: People, Planet & Profit.
Penn’s water re-use at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., won the 2010 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. In Ohio, its properties in Columbus and Toledo were developed on brownfield sites, using recycled materials and green design which resulted in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The cost-cutting and environmentally sustainable features in Columbus include preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles; high efficiency interior plumbing fixtures; a 50 percent reduction in potable water use for landscaping; a 16 percent (approximately $500,000) reduction in energy use from various forms of efficient lighting; and an 80 percent recycling rate for its construction waste.
In addition to expanding this effort toward green building and LEED certification in new properties, Penn also has—and will continue to—implement green strategies for its existing properties across the country. The award-winning water re-use project in Grantville, for instance, is saving up to 20 million gallons annually. In 2003, Penn began working with McCarthy Engineering, which assembled an unprecedented long-term sustainable solution to lower the discharge of treated wastewater, reduce water withdrawal from nearby aquifers and decrease the consumption of water on the property.
Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. – Going Green with Recycling and Composting
Recently, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (PNK) has committed to a “going green” effort that includes several different recycling programs at multiple properties.
With a new recycling center for employees at its corporate headquarters, PNK’s team members can take in and deposit items such as paper, plastic, aluminum, batteries, light bulbs, cell phones and more while at work. In the same location, the company has put up communication boards where important messages related to recycling efforts are posted. At PNK’s Belterra property (located outside Cincinnati in Florence, Ind.), recycling containers are used by employees on the casino vessel to collect and recycle plastic and aluminum. PNK hopes that the combination of these efforts creates awareness that will allow it to continue to develop a culture where efforts to go green are a priority for everyone.
Another area in which PNK is going green is through organic waste composting. At its St. Louis and Indiana properties, food waste is recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Every month, more than 100 tons of waste are composted between three of PNK’s properties. Additionally, PNK is recycling used cooking oil from the kitchens on its properties.
For PNK, this is just the beginning of going green, and the company hopes to build on this progress by enhancing these programs and expanding to other recycling efforts.
SHFL entertainment – Ushering in an Era of a ‘Carbon Aware’ Staff
The efforts to reduce SHFL entertainment’s (SHFL) carbon footprint have been a collective one during the last two years. They include the executive team’s support of key changes and the staffs of the production and inventory departments taking the required steps to fulfill SHFL’s new action plan, which includes the development of a “carbon footprint aware staff” during the next decade.
One major area the company has addressed is proper waste disposal procedures. Conducting training sessions and pre-shift meetings regarding the proper use of machinery have resulted in SHFL cutting its monthly waste in half.
SHFL also has posted information on its company intranet regarding proper disposal procedures, as well as signage to direct its staff to the strategically-placed stations throughout its facilities. In addition to these efforts, SHFL has made significant strides in packaging and pallet reuse in its shipping department. Another important change is the use of programmable thermostats, which minimizes unnecessary use and run-time at all four of SHFL’s primary facilities.