Booster clubs play a major role in the support of public school systems (as well as other groups) across the country, but especially when it comes to raising funds. Where local, state, or federal money ends, parents and the tight-knit community of supporters commit to helping bolster the needs and quality of the student experience. There are innumerable ways for clubs to achieve this goal. We’re going to focus on one particularly fun and exciting theme for fundraising: running a booster club Casino Night fundraiser!
General Laws and Rules about Running a Casino Night Fundraiser
Depending on your location, there may be federal or state laws pertaining to operating this kind of “games of chance” party. Charitable gambling (in this case a booster club casino night fundraiser) is technically allowed in all US states with the exception of Hawaii, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. If you live in those states, you will want to ensure the legality of your idea, as you may be able to modify or work around any hard rules. In any case, always make sure to check your particular state’s laws on gambling in respect to fundraising. In addition, there may be local or even county regulations on which particular games you may offer. You want to make sure your booster club is achieving its goal to raise money, but you must also operate within the law!
What is a Booster Club Casino Night Fundraiser?
Casinos are a fun atmosphere that many enjoy across the country. But what exactly does it mean to execute a Booster Club Casino Night fundraiser? There are so many fun ways to mix it up and come up with a creative theme, but what about the nitty gritty details around actually running this type of fundraiser? We will help outline the basics for you so you can take the idea and run with it!
The basic idea is your booster club provides attendees with a set of casino games (games of chance) to play for a night of fun. Attendees purchase tickets to attend which include a set amount of chips to play. The booster club is the “house” and when attendees of your booster club casino night fundraiser win at the games, instead of cashing out, they exchange their winnings for prizes.
There are lots of options for games, raffles, entertainment, and refreshments. Your aim should be to create a genuine “gambling” experience without the hassle (and possible illegality) of using actual cash. Here are the basic guidelines for putting together your booster club casino night fundraiser:
Selling Tickets is a MUST!
Your primary source of incoming funds for your booster club casino night fundraiser will be ticket sales. Guests can simply reserve their entry to the event and receive a pre-determined amount of tokens to play games with. Because this is not run like a traditional casino, any “winnings” are usually prizes of some sort, rather than cashing out.
Traditional casino games (craps, blackjack etc.) For the Win!
Unlike traditional casinos, winners at various games do not get to cash out money at the end of your booster club casino night fundraiser. Instead, typiclally your fundraiser may provide prizes for partygoers to exchange for their winnings at the end of the night.
Pro tip: get in touch with local businesses to donate product to save money on the back end!
To really add some authenticity to your fundraiser, bring in some slot machines. While slot machines are pricy to rent, they are the most popular casino games. They are easy to play and people generally enjoy playing slots. Plus it gives your event a more “authentic” casino feel!
Raffles Add Extra Revenue
If you have a solid team of supporters, you may want to consider adding on a raffle to the casino night. While it’s a bit more work, offering various raffles throughout the night allows guests who don’t wish to gamble an option to win prizes. They can simply exchange chips for tickets.
Pro tip: allow for additional chip purchase at the front desk to bring in more revenue!
Refreshments Are Key To Your Success
Who wants to go to a party without food or drink? Here is a prime opportunity to capitalize in a big way. Local restaurants or supermarkets can sponsor your event, and as mentioned above, simply “charge” chips for various menu items.
Add an Auction to Further Increase Money Raised
Similar to a raffle, an auction or a silent auction is another way for guests that do not gamble to engage and have fun at the party. If you are a small team putting this together, you may want to opt out of this your first Casino Night event. However, if you have a larger more solid group of supporters you should consider this. While these are more work, they increase the revenue brought in from the event and they further engage the club with the local business community.
One aspect that is often overlooked for many casino night fundraisers is live entertainmnet. This is surefire way to make your Casino Night a memorable and exciting experience for the attendees. You could opt for a live band, a DJ, or even a comedy show. Live entertainment ensures your guests are having fun and they will stay for the duration of the event!
Setting Up Your Booster Club Casino Night Fundraiser
Once you’ve decided to organize a booster club Casino Night fundraiser, there are many aspects you need to think about. Here is a short list of things to consider:
- Tables/chairs plus personnel to run the games themselves
- What refreshments will you offer? Will you have volunteers serve guests at the table or at a snack bar? Alcohol or no alcohol?
- Are kids allowed or will it be for adults only?
- What kind of prizes can guests win and where will you source the prizes?
- Will there be a dress code? Dressing up adds a touch of class and the feel of a real casino
- Do you want live entertainment such as a band/DJ or a sound system with house music?
- How will you sell tickets and distribute chips/fake money?
- What is the time and date for the event itself? How long do you want it to run?
Promote Your Booster Club Casino Night Fundraiser
Promoting your Booster Club Casino Night is pretty much the most important aspect of actually raising funds! You want to get the word out as soon as possible once you decide on the time and date of the fundraiser. It goes without saying, when trying to pack the house for an event like this, the more attendees show up, the better!
There are many ways to go about this. At the very least, you will want to coordinate an email newsletter, giving all necessary information about the night and more importantly selling the event as a charitable evening for contributing to the student body. It is obvious that you should include the students in this process, as it ultimately benefits them. Work with your administration and PTA group to post flyers around the town and at your venue.
Reach out to local businesses to sponsor your Casino Night. With the students’ best interest in mind, you may be able to work with local shops to donate prizes or even a monetary donation in exchange for advertising at your event.
Remember To Put The “Fun” in Fundraiser!
A Booster Club Casino Night is a timeless fundraiser theme that many people will enjoy attending. Your booster club works hard to provide their students with assistance in many regards, so don’t worry exclusively about maximizing the financial gain. There are countless ways you help the students, and funding is very important, but only one aspect of the whole point to the booster club! By creating a lively atmosphere for guests to enjoy themselves, you will hopefully nurture their goodwill and raise lots of money for your cause!