As we travel to conference after gambling conference, we mostly focus on increasing revenue, the latest products, how to acquire and retain customers, M&As and so on. At WGES 2017, I was refreshed as I listened to an inspiring presentation led by Jan Jones, EVP of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility for Caesars Entertainment. Her speech was focused on the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and why gambling companies and the gambling industry as a whole should be doing more to give back to society.
Jones pointed out how the public views the gambling industry as “bad” and expects us to do harm. She emphasized the importance of making CSR a core part of our organizations, led by senior management. She said by implementing solid CSR strategies, organizations become an employer of choice, regulators become friends not foes, investors take notice and public perception improves.
Not to mention as human beings, doing good feels good and brings happiness to others.
I was also refreshed at WGES during my interview with Mr. Green’s CEO, Jesper Karrbrink (to be released here at CalvinAyre.com on Wednesday, July 26th), when I realized the number one topic he wanted to discuss was his company’s CSR initiatives as opposed to the suite of products Mr. Green has to offer.
The week after WGES I attended the iGaming Super Show and ran into Barry Martin, Senior Consultant at KPIGC. On the heels of the conference, Martin sent me a message with details of an iGaming industry Charity Golf Tournament he’s organizing in October and asked if I could help spread the word. Of course I said yes and his efforts immediately made me think of Pentasia’s Rob Dowling and James King of Clarion Events, two iGaming industry professionals who have done so much for charity and involved the gaming industry along the way.
Dowling’s son Oliver tragically passed away in the autumn of 2015 and to celebrate Oliver’s short life, Dowling and his family set up “Oliver’s Wish” in April 2016. The Oliver’s Wish Foundation works with a range of charities that are focused on supporting babies and young children and “Oliver’s Army” have raised over £100,000 to date.
“The response from employees across our group of companies to the Oliver’s Wish Foundation has been nothing short of amazing”, Dowling shared.
“Some highlights from ‘Oliver’s Army’ include: a group of 10 completing the Three Peaks Challenge, three colleagues are taking on the London to Brighton bike ride, a team of 12 completed a ‘Tough Mudder’ event and will go again this year, we had runners in last year’s London Marathon and have colleagues signed up for 2018, we organised two celebrity charity rugby events with enormous help from colleagues who volunteered as both players and support on the day”, he added.
Earlier this year King successfully completed the Marathon des Sables, a 156 mile foot race over six days in the Sahara, dubbed the “toughest foot race on earth” by the Discovery Channel, all an effort to raise money for Mencap. Leading up to the race, King inspired gaming professionals and his own organization to support his cause.
“Clarion Gaming gave me the flexibility with timing to be able to attend training sessions (especially the heat chambers in the last few weeks) that crossed over with work hours which was invaluable and meant I could work hours around those, they also made a sizeable donation which helped to push me well over target”, King shared.
“The industry was incredible, from the offset support in the form of donations as well as emotional flooded in and lasted up and to, as well as during and in the follow up after the race, it was overwhelming. It goes without saying that my biggest support, my sponsor Andy Jones and his business AliQuantum were driving support from the start and really ensured that I made it and was fully supported every step of the way”, he added.
Now we have Martin’s initiative, an iGaming charity golf tournament taking place in Oxfordshire on October 11th to raise money for Action for AT.
“Chatting to a few people in Amsterdam last week it seemed the appetite is there and we already have 9 teams confirmed. After speaking to Sean Kelly who is the CEO for Action for AT, he was delighted to organise the day and we are delighted that he has found a championship golf course with amazing facilities to host the inaugural Word Series of Golf iGaming event which is The Oxfordshire golf club”, Martin sad.
“The events [Action for AT] organise are not only very well attended but they also get amazing support from celebrities”, he added.
Martin has played in several golf events, taken part in a 100 mile charity walk and participated in the Prudential London Ride 100, all for Action for AT, a charity that is very close to his heart.
“Given the very nature of the industry we are in, I think it is very important that we are not only seen to be giving something back but also showing the that we are not all profit driven animals with no moral compass”, Martin said.
Dowling, King, Jones and Karrbrink all echo Martin’s sentiments, along with many other gaming industry professionals and companies.
“Corporate Social Responsibility is important to a business because it demonstrates to both consumers and the media that the company takes an interest in wider social issues that have no direct impact on profit margins. These issues may be local, national or global, but a concern for the health and wellness of others that does not involve sales has to be seen as commendable”, said Dowling.
Jones’s comments about the gambling industry’s negative public perception are true and she emphasized the importance of “telling our CSR story” during her speech at WGES, an effort Dowling also supports.
“Our sector often receives an unfair level of criticism and is rarely portrayed as a force for good but as an industry we could probably do better at promoting ourselves. I am aware of a number of amazing charitable initiatives across our sector that have been set up by corporations but are little publicized”, Dowling said.
The importance of CSR goes well beyond the gambling industry and hopefully I’ve inspired you to adopt a healthy CSR roadmap internally if you have not already, perhaps organize, donate to or participate in a charity event, or all of the above.
Martin left us with a James Epstein-Reeves quote from a recent Forbes Magazine article, a statement that “sums it up very well”, Martin said.
“When I define CSR to the uninitiated, I typically get three reactions. Some say, “Isn’t that a bunch of greenwashing?” Others use a non-so-nice word to describe male bovine excrement instead of greenwashing. Still others say my definition sounds like an inspiring call to action to soothe the ills of capitalism. Then there are those who say CSR is like a begrudging call to Woodstock to sing Kumbaya – something only “hippies” could dream up….. This isn’t to say that CSR is the panacea to the world’s problems. But it certainly does start to move the needle toward an economy that is much closer to one where I would like to conduct business”- Epstein-Reeves
The World Series of Golf Tournament and Sponsorship Details:
Date: Wednesday 11th October 2017
Venue: The Oxfordshire, Thame
Team: Enter in teams of 4
Price: £1000 per team of 4 including Hole Sponsorship or £800 per team of 4
Dinner Tickets: Individual Tickets £60 or Table of 10 £500
Package 1 – Title Sponsorship: £5000 to include 2x teams, 1st Hole Sponsorship, unlimited branding opportunities and branded giveaways for all guests
Package 2 – Hole Sponsorship: as part of team entry or £200 per hole
Package 3 – Halfway House Sponsor: £2000 includes 1x team of 4, 1x Hole Sponsorship & halfway house sponsorship
Package 4 – Table Wine Sponsor: £2000 includes 1x team of 4, 1x Hole Sponsorship & evening table wine sponsorship
Package 5 – Prize Table Sponsorship: £2000 includes 1x team of 4, 1x Hole Sponsorship & evening prize table sponsorship
To secure your team or sponsorship contact the Action for A-T events team via t: 01428 853313 or e: golf@actionforAT.org