Casino Night Fundraiser – There are many fund raising event ideas available these days to fundraising committees. The challenge is to make it fun and make money at the same time.
The advantages of having a casino fund raising event include:
- It’s a fun interactive party
- Casino Parties will attract many who would not normally attend the typical boring
- Tickets are easy to sell, since most people like to gamble
- There are numerous profit centers
- The event usually only lasts three to five hours
- This type of fund raiser is ideally suited as an annual event, with different themes each year
How much can be raised?
The amount raised will vary, depending on the number of attendees, ticket prices, drink prices, and other related activities at the Casino Party. I’ve seen groups raise over $30,000 in a three hour event, but it was an annual event that had a large crowd, with an established charity.
Last year, I had a veteran’s group raise $3200. the first year with about 100 attendees. This same group recently booked another Casino fund raiser, and increased the number of tables by 50%.
I counsel most groups that they will typically raise between $2000. and $4000. their first year, with a 20% increase every year after that, when it’s turned into an annual event.
Here’s how it works…
Typically, tickets are sold, and the guests are provided with food (usually a buffet style), beverages, entertainment, play money, raffle tickets, and the chance to win prizes.
The guests then eat, drink and play the casino tables for two to three hours, and turn their chips and unused play money into raffle tickets. A raffle is conducted at the end for prizes.
Please consult our Casino Planning Guide for help in planning this type of event.
How the money is raised…
A casino fund raising event lends itself to more that one profit center.
Most groups will charge $25. to $100. per person, depending on the food, and entertainment provided. My experience is that most organizations will charge about $25., unless it’s a Black Tie event with upscale food and a live band. Groups that presell tickets will typically generate an additional 10% in profit. When tickets are presold, they are usually discounted (a $25. ticket will sell for $20. up to a week before the event). Don’t worry about the discounting; you’ll make it up in ticket sales, plus beverage profits.
They way most groups go about sponsorship for casino parties are by getting each table sponsored. One of my regular clients, a local real estate association, has sold sponsorships to banks, real estate attorneys, mortgage companies, and other companies marketing to real estate brokers and agents. Also, many of the sponsors choose to be casino dealers, to further promote their services. The entire event is paid for by the sponsors, with additional funds going into their general fund.
Here is a table full of sponsorship signs at a recent Amvets Casino Fundraiser. Each table was sponsored for $300.
In addition, other activities, such as the entertainment, may also be sponsored. High dollar fundraisers sometimes even have a free open bar paid for a by a benevolent sponsor.
Quite often, attendees will be given one or two free drink tickets as part of their admission. Everything after that is paid for. Some groups will only serve soft drinks. Other organizations will include beer and wine. Still others will have mixed drinks as well. Since alcoholic beverages have a high markup, the cash bar can bring in a good profit. The number of bars you need will depend on the number of attendees.
One trick, to help increase bar sales, is to employ “cocktail waitresses”. I know of one non-profit who had a record night with their bar sales by using cocktail waitresses servicing the casino tables.
Silent or Live Auctions
Everybody loves an auction. An auction is one of the most profitable casino fund raising activities. Since all of the items are donated, the profit margin is almost 100% My personal record for a live non profit auction is raising $9000. in 45 minutes. Since I’m a licensed auctioneer (GAL 2957), my speed at a typical fund raising auction is selling 75 items an hour.
Both silent and live auctions are fun and profitable, but it’s been found that you will generate about 20% more money (for the same items) when you have a live auction. Bidders get caught up in the process and have a tendency to bid higher than at a silent auction. The competitive nature of this type of event benefits the casino fund raising effort.
To really make this fund raising event idea work well, it’s best to use a licensed auctioneer. This will help the auction move along at a rapid pace. One idea that has proved successful is to invite a local celebrity to help with the auction, by describing the item to be sold, then letting the auctioneer handle the bid calling.
Items to be sold at a live auction should have a monetary value of over $100. When you have both, the Silent Auction should contain items worth less than $100.
Many organizations will have photographers brought in to take pictures of the guests. This is especially true if it’s a theme party. Typically, the fee will be $5. to $10. per picture, with the non profit receiving 20% to 25% The benefit to the group is that it takes minimal space and brings in extra funds.
Here’s an idea that served well for an organization that hosted a casino fund raising event. They charged $2 for valet parking and brought in an additional $200.
Most groups will have 5 to 12 prizes for every 100 attendees. It’s best to get your prizes donated. A nice Grand Prizes, such as a big screen TV or vacation package will really bring in the attendees. Other prizes may include BBQ grills, certificates at day spas and restaurants, gift cards from retailers, golf umbrellas and other miscellaneous items. The theme of the event will often help dictate the prizes.
Casino Fund Raising expenses range from $15 to $35 per person, depending on location, food and beverage, and décor. Food will often comprise 40% of the budget, with 40% allocated to the Casino Vendor, and the additional 20% allocated to facility rental, entertainment, prizes, and decorations. These amounts will vary depending on your organization’s preferences.
Many non-profits use their own building or a donated facility for their event. Hotels and special event facilities are usually the most expensive.
Food & Beverage
Many groups will have the food sponsored, or will do it themselves. Often the food selection will match the theme of the event. The drinks can range from bottled water and soft drinks to fancy mixed drinks. Again, this is an item that you might be able to get donated or sponsored.
Most party stores will sell casino decorations, and some will even give discounts to non- profit organizations.
There is no expense for prizes if you’re able to get them all donated.
Security is a good idea for most any event, and some facilities will require security if alcohol is served.
Casino Table Rentals and Dealers
Make sure you choose a vendor that has at least five to ten years experience putting on casino fund raising events.
Most professional entertainers will not donate their services (that’s how they earn their living), but many organizations will have the entertainment sponsored.
It’s always a good idea to plan an extra 10% into the budget for miscellaneous items such as garbage bags and unexpected expenses.
The volunteers may come from your membership or recruited family members and friends. You’ll need one person to deal at each table, along with check-in personnel, cashier and a few others. For an event with 100 attendees, you’ll need about 15 volunteers to ensure a smooth-running casino party.
Casino fund raising publicity is primarily generated through your membership. Some organizations will enlist a media sponsor, such as a local newspaper, to further publicize the event. Other avenues include flyers posted in local businesses, and cable TV spots.