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When Charitable Giving Becomes Political

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

How to reshape the way politicians viewed the gaming industry.

Sometimes charitable giving becomes political, but if both parties win (no pun intended), does it matter? A win-win scenario was the name of the game and I wanted to be sitting at the table for the landmark transition that was able to reshape the way politicians viewed the gaming industry. We all have beliefs and values that we live by and political officials have a job to do, which sometimes blurs the lines. In order to get the balanced budget and get re-elected means that someone must pay. The gaming industry was an easy target for politicians to balance their budget by increasing the taxes paid by the gaming industry. So, how do you get them off the topic of increasing gaming taxes and on to something else?

“I wanted to be sitting at the table for the landmark transition that was able to reshape the way politicians viewed the gaming industry.”

Our thought process was to become a good corporate citizen, so they do not want to attack the gaming industry because it makes them look bad to their constituents. But, just being a good corporate citizen is not good enough because they need money to get re-elected. I will not bore you with all the details, but basically a contribution to a political campaign is capped, so therefore grassroots efforts are needed as well.

Let’s take care of the money part first. The one thing politicians love more than politics is money to get re-elected. We needed a Political Action Committee (PAC) and who better to be the PAC Treasurer than me. No one else was stepping up to the plate. Like I knew a darn thing about being a PAC Treasurer. What I knew was that we had to get the right people into government offices to push our agenda and I was onboard with that, so if a PAC Treasurer was needed, I was onboard. Little did I know that this would become a thirteen-state property/casino tour to educate employees about the impact of increased taxation on our industry, which correlates to a reduction of workforce. People listen when their jobs are in jeopardy due to government making decisions based on perceptions and not facts. The reason we had to lean on employees for financial support of the PAC is because as a company we were capped at what amount we could contribute to a political party and political officials/candidates. The support of employees through PAC contributions broadened the financial backing for those that supported the benefits of our industry, instead of focusing on the negative impacts. The art of negotiation is what most call this statement. This was my first initiation in the world of raising funds. Most will not understand what it is like to ask employees to contribute $5,000 a year to a PAC to protect an industry, but I do and I know how to make people understand the impact they are making when they make this commitment. A financial commitment that they have no control over and put the fate of their hard-earned money in the hands of a corporate woman telling them that she will fight for them. I know now why people get involved in the world of politics. It is movement to affect change and I had engulfed myself in it.

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