The online casino and sports betting market continues to grow at an exponential rate across the globe, peaking at a valuation of $57.54 billion in 2021.
It’s also expected to increase to $63.53 billion at the end of this year, particularly with the remote sports betting sector stateside having become an influential driver ever since May 2018.
Of course, the growth of online betting brands and the market as a whole has also increased the number of active rogue operators, while placing a much sharper focus on issues such as problem gambling, addiction and even wider social issues.
There have been subsequent calls for betting brands to tackle such issues head on and give back to the communities that have enriched them, although some market leaders are already following this path. While some argue this should be solved through fundraising and charities, there is still a large community who are calling for the providers to foot the bill for the possible social issues, and some who are listening.
We’ll explore this further below, while asking how online casinos continue to give back to their communities.
The Rise of Philanthropic Casinos in Europe
The most mature iGaming and remote betting markets exist in Europe, including examples such as the UK and Italy.
Because of this, European casinos and iGaming software developers have blazed a trail for many others to follow in terms of philanthropy and giving back, with Casumo offering a relevant case in point.
The operator, which has marketed itself across the globe and in locations such as Germany, Japan, Sweden and the UK, has engaged with a raft of noble and charitable causes as it has grown, including those active in areas such as responsible gambling and the LGBTQ+ community. Last November, for example, Casumo’s online casino donated £6,317 ($7760.06) to GamCare’s BigDeal Programme under the initiative of the British Legion, matching the amount raised during an associated auction.
The brand has also engaged with various LGBTQ+ charity initiatives and schemes, raising both money and awareness on a significant scale.
Then there’s the Gauselmann Group, which is a German-based gambling company that has given back considerably to social and environmental projects across the board. Most recently, the group decided to launch a new environmental campaign, nicknamed “The Tree of Life”. The aim here was pretty simple; to plant 85,000 new trees across the length-and-breadth of Germany, with this number fixed to commemorate the group founder’s 85th birthday.
This type of simple but effective initiative is key in the fight against global warming, as the terrestrial biosphere including plants and trees help to remove around 45% of the CO2 emitted by human activities and households every single year.
It also combats the impact of global deforestation, while highlighting the role that well-resourced and high-profile gambling brands can play in benefiting local communities and the natural environment.
How Online Casinos Can Give Back in the US
Interestingly, such initiatives aren’t yet as prevalent in the US market, which remains relatively immature when compared to the UK and much of Europe.
However, as part of the most recent online sports betting legislation being proposed in California, prominent iGaming brand BetMGM is leading a group that wants to incorporate funding for homelessness and mental health charities as a key component of the final bill.
BetMGM, which is also arguably the best online casino in WV and similar states where iGaming is permitted, is currently a key driver of the ‘California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act’, which has already been backed by several sports betting entities and proposes funding for $100 million throughout California.
It’s thought that such a provision could prove key to legalising sports betting and potentially casino gambling in the sunshine state, with BetMGM fully committed to achieving this objective and delivering support for the state’s most vulnerable residents.
If the subsequent betting bill is passed, it will be the first to make a formal provision for homeless and mental health charities, and could blaze a trail for other legislation to follow in the future.
Of course, BetMGM isn’t the only West Virginia online casino that has a strong philanthropic best, with DraftKings also announcing a multi-year financial commitment to various local state councils as of January 2022.
This scheme is aimed at providing funding for targeted, local nonprofit entities, primarily those aimed at curbing the excesses of online gambling and helping so-called “problem” gamblers.
Named the ‘State Council Funding Program’, it will see DraftKings provide a cash injection of $15,000 per annum for three years to each of the active 35 state problem gambling councils, equating to a total commitment of $1.575 million over the course of the scheme.
Of course, these schemes will continue to inspire others if successful, especially as the regulatory framework in the US tightens and brands compete to become ambassadors for responsible gambling.
Punters and the wider community will also benefit directly from most of these measures, especially when you consider the cost of gambling-related harm and other social issues that impact us all.