Donate your change!
There is a trend happening in the casino industry and a trend sweeping the United States in this Covid-19 era we live in. Rounding up your change is now becoming commonplace. Panda Express has been doing this for years with its Panda Cares program. When I make a purchase today, I am asked to round up for a local charity. Rounding up, or now at a few casinos, rounding down for charity is becoming commonplace. Rounding your slot ticket down for local charities is a generous philanthropic gesture you can now make at participating casinos. Casinos and Philanthropy, who knew you could find Philanthropy at the casino? You can bet you will be seeing this idea coming to a casino near you. The question is, will this donation be a good bet, or like many things in the casino, smoke, and mirrors? Will it be big business or true Philanthropy?
Big Business or Philanthropy?
In 2009 while attempting to bring this change to charity concept to casinos, I was faced with a business reality right away. After consulting with different attorneys, a theme quickly began emerging. The theme was to make this idea a for-profit business and not a philanthropic venture. Working in the casino industry and having a feel for casino patrons, I decided I wanted to go in the direction of Philanthropy. Casinos were already looked at, from some outside the industry, as immoral. Philanthropy shouldn’t be anything but completely moral. You should be able to support this type of Philanthropy no matter what your beliefs. Making this casino charity idea completely transparent using the highest industry standards should be the standard. The casino patron should have faith in his donation.
Little did I know how hard merging the casino business with Philanthropy would be. On the one hand, I had casinos telling me that if this option were on their kiosks, they would love to try it, but they had already purchased their kiosks and were not able to make the kiosk manufacture rewrite software. Then I would hear from the kiosk manufacture that I wasn’t their customer, and only if the casino would make them write the software would they do so. I was never told, “NO,” or given a reason to stop pursuing this quest. I received little nuggets of encouragement all the time. Numerous people have no idea how much their kind word keeps me motivated. There are also so many times that unprofessional people also motivated me. I knew that Philanthropy would ultimately prevail.
Where did you come up with that?
Then came the time I learned that the casino business was just like life, and sometimes the odds don’t work out in your favor. Let’s face it business is business, and nothing stops profitable business. I was making my rounds at one of the Global Gaming Exposes, and standing right in front of me was the donation module. The thing I had been working on for years. The idea I had numerous conversations with the company I was standing in front of. There it was in all its glory, just like I had been talking about for years. It was a weird kind of pain and shame I felt standing there as the salesperson demoed the donation module. Her words were my words. Her excitement was my excitement. Where did this go wrong? Where did I fail and what do I need to do to succeed? Is this casino big business or true philanthropy?
As I walked away in shock, a great feeling came over me. I realized that I was on to something, or I wasn’t crazy after all these years. Sometimes as an entrepreneur, you question your sanity. Their donation module was 100% validation of my idea. I was so excited to run to the competition and say, “See, look what they have over there.” As if I had something special that they didn’t already know. Surely this was going to be my shot. I was finally going to get my turn at making a difference. It took a while for the momentum I had to wear off. I thought for sure the competition would come knocking on my door. Why wasn’t I getting my chance? What about me is so horrible that people don’t want to do business with me?
An old friend gave me a call and opened my eyes to everything. Now I knew all along I had to build tremendous value for all parties involved in the donation module. I studied brain chemistry from a casino perspective and a giving perspective. Do you know what” the happiness trifecta” is? I looked at marketing and social media, drip campaigns, and funnels. I built so much value into this donation module, yet I couldn’t understand why this wasn’t happening. That is until my friend played it all out for me.
Now I am sure at this point you want me to spill the beans and tell you everything that I have learned. Unfortunately, like a good poker player, I am not going to show this hand just yet. I may never show this hand. Just know, I feel that Philanthropy will finally have a seat at this table. Big business has been whooping my butt, and to be honest, I’m not mad. It wasn’t my time. I grew, learned, and we got better as a team. We will get our chance to highlight philanthropy at its best. We will raise funds in a transparent ethical way. Gaming regulators will approve.
I promise you if you see the CP Charities donation module at a casino in the near future, you can feel good about it being a 100% actual Philanthropy and not just big business. As the casino patron, it’s your money and you can feel good that It will be tax compliant. You will be able to write your donations off on your taxes! Make sure you grab your receipt. It will be a system that is entirely transparent and uses the highest industry standards. I can assure you if it is not the CP Charities brand, most likely, it’s just big business. It could be casino smoke and mirrors. It could be a bluff! I feel confident when we play our cards in the end, Philanthropy will win, and big business will have to fold this one.