US Gambling Companies Donated $367m to Charity in 2017

Charity volunteers

30-second summary:

  • US gambling companies donated $367m to charity in 2017
  • The American Gaming Association compiles the data
  • The casinos also have socially responsible programs in place, more so than many other sectors
  • The UK’s main gambling addiction charity says that gambling companies are not fulfilling their charitable donation pledges

Donations and social responsibility

Data on charity donations made by gambling companies in the United States for 2018 is now public. The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the American Gaming Association (AGA) compile data relating to corporate social responsibility in the country.

The data is used to make up a report called Corporate Social Responsibility in the Gaming Industry.

To compile this data, 15 members of the AGA conducted interviews and surveys during the third quarter of 2018. The interviewees represented 168 casino facilities that together have more than 235,000 staff and total revenues of over $33bn.

The data shows that these companies gave $367m to charity during 2017. On average, $23m was donated to charity per company in 2017. This compares with an average of $16m in the corporate sector.

Casino staff contributed more than 422,000 volunteering hours during the year for good causes. This is significantly higher than a lot of other sectors. Employees in AGA-member casino companies on average contribute 14 hours each year to volunteer work. This is almost five times greater than is seen in the corporate sector.

The CEO and president of the AGA Bill Miller said: “Today’s report shows that the gaming industry is making good on our promise to be responsible community partners, contributing economically and socially to communities across the country.”

Inclusive hiring programs

The majority of casinos now have inclusion and diversity principles in place as part of their hiring process. Almost 70% of the respondents have programs focusing on recruiting minorities.

All of the companies have comprehensive policies in place to help prevent problem gambling. And most also have a comprehensive program in place for energy efficiency and recycling.

Overall, the report shows the pay-off of the many social responsibility policies the casinos have been implementing recently. They are ahead of many other sectors when looking at the figures.

There is also a big difference between gambling companies in the US and the rest of the world. Many gambling operators throughout Europe have taken hit after hit to their reputations in recent years.

Bad press in Europe

Gambling companies in the US are clearly looking to clean up their image, with all these socially responsible programs in place. This is becoming increasingly important as many states in the country are working to legalize casinos, sports betting and online gambling.

Companies that have a good image are much more likely to get a positive response from lawmakers. There are, of course, occasional negative news stories in the space, such as the scandal involving Wynn Resorts. However, they are making significant strides with regards to their image.

Many gambling companies in Europe seems to be going in the opposite direction. The general public largely has a negative image of gambling companies. There has been scandal after scandal involving problem gamblers being able to use online platforms without repercussions, even when they are stealing significant sums from their work and family.

Many see fixed odds betting terminals as predatory and aimed at vulnerable people. This is why there has been a movement to slash the amount that can be staked via these machines.

Gamble Aware, the charity for responsible gambling in the UK has made accusations against gambling companies. It claims they are not honoring their pledge to donate to fund problem gambling and addiction programs.

Gamble Aware is calling for the pledge to be put into law so the companies have to follow through on their promise. As part of the move to deregulate gambling in 2007, all online gambling companies, bingo halls and bookmakers agreed a deal to contribute 0.1% of their revenue voluntarily to charities.

Many people see these companies as instead helping create these problems and believe that they should contribute significantly to fix them.