In this day and age, it is becoming easy to be very cynical on just about anything; to sit in the online peanut gallery and anonymously launch written bombs expressing snarky, sarcastic and often misinformed opinions designed to rile on topics public and personal. These faceless skeptics are often called online trolls, and since there is a dark corner of the modern zeitgeist where they are adored and encouraged, they are likely to be around for quite some time to come.
Suffice to say the casino gaming industry has not been immune from the less than gentle touch of the Internet troll. Look under the “comments” section on publically posted newspaper articles on gaming and you’ll often find digs about the foolish politicians who legalized wagering, how the business in bankrupting communities, how all casino operators are crooks bent on taking money out of state and anyone who supports the casino industry is an idiot (or something worse). They’re all old tropes, many disproven, that continue to circulate about casinos and will, unfortunately, live forever on the web.
Reading these comments on a regular basis you realize just how far the industry still has to go, especially from a public relations perspective. But in this miasma of negativity it’s easy to forget just how altruistic the legalized gaming community has become over the last few decades, especially compared to other domestic businesses and industries. Some recent examples of good causes supported by leading casino operators include:
Environmental conservation—Casino operators throughout the U.S. have taken a lead role in constructing and engineering facilities that are friendly to the environment when it comes to building materials, water usage, energy savings and much more. The most recent example of this was an announcement by Wynn Las Vegas stating it will power its multi-use development, Paradise Park, with 100 percent renewable energy sourced from a new 160-acre solar energy facility, making it one of the most environmentally conscious planned developments in Las Vegas.
Advancement opportunities for women and minorities—It is unlikely that any business can boast a lower “glass ceiling” for women and minorities than the casino industry. For example, MGM Resorts International is regularly recognized as a top company for diversity by DiversityInc, one of the nation’s leading sources on workplace diversity management; and was ranked third on “The Top Ten Regional Companies” list for diversity best practices in 2017.
Not to be outdone, Caesars Entertainment recently announced an initiative to achieve gender equality among its leadership ranks by 2025. “Caesars is focused on being vigilant about workplace fairness and is dedicated to fostering an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion,” said Mark Frissora, president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment.
Charitable contributions—Gaming is a people business, so when disaster strikes a community, the local casino is often one of the first business entities to offer assistance. A shining example of this public spirit was how the industry reacted to the mass shooting event last October in Las Vegas. Within a week of the calamity, cash donations of $2 million from Caesars Entertainment, $3 million for MGM Resorts and $4 million from Las Vegas Sands rolled into various victim funds. Earlier last year, when storms ravaged Houston Texas and Macau, Wynn Resorts donated $7.5 million to relief efforts in those communities.
Let’s hope these good acts, combined with the gaming industry’s proven track record of job creation and tax revenue, sound loud enough to chase the trolls back into their caves.