Let Casino Knights run your next fundraising event
We’re here to help you organize the best casino-themed party for your next fundraiser.
Casino Knights has been helping people just like you throw the best and most effective fundraisers in the Southern California area for over thirty years!
With our extensive experience, professional staff, and relationships with local venues, your event is sure to be a hit. We are fully insured to handle events in your space or a rental space, and offer a wide-range of services including DJ’s and sound systems. Don’t believe us? Check out our reviews!
To best assist you in your success, we have developed the below guideline to anyone planning a casino party fundraiser event. Although not every point below may not be applicable to your event, we have attempted to address the typical scenarios an organizer will likely encounter.
Good luck with your event!
Establishing and Realizing Your Fundraising Financial Goal.
Generally when asked the question, “How much money would you like to raise at this event?” most hosts realize that they haven’t given it enough thought. Having a realistic goal of how much money you would like to raise is the key starting point. It should determine the price of your entrance fee and the limit of your expenses.
- Decide how much money you would like to make from this event
- Draft a statement of your proposed Revenue and Expenses.
Obviously the key to your Bottom Line is to maximize your revenue and minimize your expenses. As fundamental as this concept is, most organizations disregard it when running one of these events.
Revenue for a fund-raiser will typically take the form of one, some, or all of the following:
- Ticket sales
- Table sponsorship
- Drink sales
- Additional script purchases
Delegate the task of ticket sales to more than one person.
It is far easier for 20 people to each sell 10 tickets than it is for 1 person to sell 200 tickets. Hold each of these 20 people responsible for the sale of their allotment of tickets.
Bottom Line: This is usually your primary source of revenue and the financial success of your event depends on meeting your goal of tickets sold.
Find at least one table sponsor for each casino table being used.
The general rule of thumb for casino table sponsorship is that the sponsored amount should be at least $100 per table.
Encourage your sponsors to provide “gag” gifts that promote their business to be distributed at “their” table. For example – a blackjack table sponsored by a dentist could give away a free toothbrush (with the sponsor’s name imprinted) for each blackjack that is dealt. Or, the dealer could be dressed in the sponsor uniform. Make your sponsors feel as though they are getting value for their donation and not only are they more likely to attend the event, getting a similar sponsorship the next year will be much easier.
Bottom Line: Table sponsorship should cover at least the entire rental cost of the casino equipment and staff.
This will vary depending on the “upscaleness” of your event.
Ticket prices and what people are getting for their money will generally determine whether guest’s drinks are included in the ticket price or if they need to pay for them. Typically, the more expensive the entrance fees the less likely you are to charge additional for drinks. On “drink inclusive” events a limited bar (beer, wine, soda) is suggested to curb costs. On other events entrance fee usually includes two “drinks tickets” which are typically redeemed at a rate of one ticket for a soft drink and two tickets for wine or beer. Additional drinks require the purchase of more drink tickets.
Bottom Line: Drinks can vary between being a good source of revenue to being a very large expense. Manage your bar wisely.
This follows a similar format to your drinks.
Bottom Line: Don’t leave people feeling “short changed” because of poor quality or insufficient food. However, don’t spend all your money on providing a spectacular meal because that is not the focus of this type of evening.
These are often incorporated into a casino evening.
Here is an advantage/disadvantage breakdown on the inclusion of a silent auction.
- Opportunity to raise more money
- Requires additional sponsors to donate auction items
- Interrupts flow of casino evening and takes people away from tables
- Much more organization and coordinating involved
- Guest often feel “hit-up” two or three times in one evening
Bottom Line: Silent auctions are often the backbone of revenues generated at fundraising parties. However, they do require a lot of time and effort to coordinate successfully. Delegate at least one person whose sole responsibility is to manage the silent auction of the event.
Live auctions can generate a tremendous amount of revenue for the event, if done correctly.
There are several key ingredients to a successful live auction.
- Maintain a captive audience – shut down all other activity during this time
Shorter is better – your live auction should run no more than 30-40 minutes
- Less is more – have only a few; generally less than 10 – high ticket items for auction
- Use a dynamic auctioneer
Bottom Line: Keep the live auction short and it can be very, very sweet.
As part of their entrance fee guests are usually given an initial “stake” of script or funny money. If they lose this initial stake they should have the option of acquiring more money for a token “donation.” This is an additional source of revenue though generally not to the extent that hosts expect it to be. Primarily because guests, for the most part, gamble conservatively. You want to give your guests a sense of having received value for their entrance ticket so be sure to include enough script money in their package.
I suggest a minimum amount of $100 to $150 in script. Anything less and your guests might feel a little “short changed.” Much more than this and you greatly reduce the likelihood of many people purchasing more script. Regarding the purchase of additional script: Make the additional “donation” an amount that is a round number and covered by a single bill ($5, $10, $20, $50 etc.).
Bottom Line: Keep the “donation” to an amount that encourages people to get more script rather than setting it too high and not having anyone buy in again.
The fundamental rule regarding expenses is to keep them to a minimum without compromising the quality of your event.
Typical expenses incurred hosting a casino event:
- Facility costs
- Decorations and props
- Casino equipment rental and dealers
- Beverage costs
- Food costs
- Clean Up
All the points addressed below carry the same caveat: “without compromising your event”
Invariably, free is the key word here.
Attempt to secure a facility at no cost to your event. There are generally several organizations that are open to making their facility available at little or no charge.
Decorations and Props:
For most events, balloons and streamers or ribbon will suffice when decorating the event facility.
Always weigh up the cost of any props you are considering using. People are typically not at your event for the decorations. Solicit donations if possible however, prioritize a table sponsorship donation ahead of a prop donation almost everytime.
Casino Equipment Rental:
Provide the casino operator with accurate head counts so the appropriate amount of equipment is supplied.
Too much equipment on hand results in a bigger expense and having too few tables to accommodate your guests is one of the surest ways to spoil your event.
Arrange to staff the blackjack tables with your own volunteers.
There will be a charge for training them but this cost is more than offset by the saving of not paying for these dealers.
Arrange with your beverage supplier to be able to return all unopened bottles.
This way you only have to pay for the beverages you have sold.
Some facilities might require a one-night insurance coverage policy for your event, especially if you are not being charged for the venue. Casino Knights also provide some coverage, so don’t forget to ask us what is/isn’t covered to ensure you are fully protected!
The same applies to security and parking. This will vary with different locations and organizations. Be aware of this possible cost when selecting a location.
Designate a team of volunteers to take care of the facility cleaning.
4. Determining Ticket Price
Ask the following questions:
- How much money do you want to make? = NET PROFIT
- How many tickets can you sell for this event? = TICKETS
- What is the total of all expenses? = EXPENSES
- What is the total of my net profit plus all my expenses? = GROSS
NET PROFIT + EXPENSES = GROSS
GROSS / TICKETS = TICKET PRICE
- We wish to raise $3500 from our event
- Our intention is to sell 200 tickets
- Our total expenses are $1500
$3500 + $1500 = $5000 (Gross)
$5000 / 200 tickets = $ 25 per ticket
What then needs to be determined is if this price is appropriate for what you intend to provide your guests and will your market support the sale of your proposed quantity of tickets at this price. Remember that you might even be under charging your guests!
By selling the proposed number of tickets and following the guidelines above you will always realize at-least your intended net profit and in most cases a higher amount. However, if you don’t sell your intended number of tickets or if your expenses are higher than budgeted; your net profit is adversely effected in both cases.
5. It will be all right on the night if…
Things to know before the event:
- Set up early at the facility
- Have change available at the “cash desk”
- Have additional script and drink tickets at cash desk
- Have a public address system on hand to announce prizes etc.
- Have sponsors signs in place on all tables
- Have bow-ties, uniforms etc. available for volunteer dealers
- Number tables
- Have dealers assigned to a specific table ahead of time
- Post signs prominently indicating chip denominations
- Post information about buying more script
- Clearly indicate location of cash desk
- Have change or drink tickets available at bar or bars
- Designate all tasks ahead of time – specifically breakdown and clean up
- Keep thorough notes for your next event – the second time is always easier
6. Legal Issues:
Beginning in 2007, Gaming Equipment and/or Service Providers have been required to register with the State Attorney General Bureau of Gambling Control and obtain a certificate. Please view our Gaming Equipment and/or Service Provider Registration Certificate.
A brief summary of the legal provisions can be viewed by clicking here.
Here’s the fairly simple form charitable organizations should complete to make sure there aren’t any unforeseen difficulties with their event. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy! Charitable Event License Application
For more information, please read the information provided by the Attorney General here: More Information
Also, make sure to check with your venue to find out if they require any certificates of insurance. We will be happy to provide this to you upon request!