Tired of feeling helpless after terrorist attacks in America last week, one online gaming company's executives are using the ad space they purchased to promote two new gaming sites to instead funnel donations to relief efforts.
The Gaming Factory, which develops Internet casino games and operates gaming sites, held off on launching two new sites, playersgalaxy.com and Mrsportsbook.com, after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
Instead of using the $20,000 to $40,000 in advertising on sites like Excite Canada and VegasLobby.com it bought to promote its new sites, the Gaming Factory is running banner ads urging the Internet gambling community to donate money to the New York Fire Department, the Red Cross and the United Way.
Richard Oronato, CEO of the Gaming Factory, and Shannon Diem, vice president of marketing for the company, both said they have friends who died at the World Trade Center as well as friends who are still missing.
"With so many Americans and so many people around the world being at a distance from these tragedies, we all--I think I can speak for many, many people around the globe--felt that our hands were tied," Oronato said. "Millions of people rushed out to donate blood, and we felt that without question there's going to be a cry for money."
Diem said the banner ads would run for 15 to 45 days depending on the response rate. If a substantial amount of money has been raised in 15 to 20 days, he said, the company might start using some of the banner ads to promote the new casinos.
The Gaming Factory will also be contributing a significant amount of money to the cause, Oronato said.
"That is going to be based upon what type of response we have within the community," he said. "We want to see that other people within the community are going to participate in this; whether they do or not, we are going to contribute a substantial amount money to this cause."
Oronato said he wants to rally the entire Internet gambling community-operators and gamblers alike.
"This is not just a cry out to gamblers around the world," he said. "There's a lot of money within this industry, and there's no reason some of that money shouldn't go out, in a situation like this, to help those in need."
The banner ads do not mention the names of the new casinos and are solely focused on directing people to donate money, Diem said. The ads lead users to a registration page, which, through PayPal, allows them to donate to the relief fund by entering the Gaming Factory's Web address along with the amount they wish to give. Diem said anyone who donates
more than $50 will have their name included on a plaque that will be given by the company to New York. All the money in the fund set up by the Gaming Factory will be donated to the New York firefighters, the Red Cross and the United Way.
The Gaming Factory has offices in San Jose, Costa Rica and West Palm Beach, Fla. The company plans to launch the two new sites in the first week of October.
Oronato said he hopes the effort will bring the gambling industry together around a common goal.
"People are flying the American flag and feeling very patriotic right now, and I think it's the perfect opportunity for us as a gaming community to get that same unification and unite for one mission, and that mission is to help these people move on with their lives and restore any help for going back to the way they lived at one point," he said.