Fundraising the Fun Way
We have seen clients raise upwards of $100,000 at their events!
Casinos are exciting! Donating is fulfilling. Why not combine the two into a super-exciting, altruistic event that will have people coming back year after year? We currently have several organizations that have used NJ Casino Nights to service their casino night fundraisers for 5 or more consecutive years! Each year they get bigger, better, and more profitable! Since every event is different, each organization will have differing degrees of success. Fortunately, we are here to help you maximize your fundraising potential!
So You Want to Raise Money
What To Do Before Your Fundraiser
In order to host a casino night fundraiser, your organization – or your sponsor organization – must be registered with the New Jersey Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission, or NJLGCCC for short. This registration is often referred to as the bingo or raffle license. If you are unsure as to your organization’s status, you can call or visit the LGCCC to inquire. They are always happy to assist non-profits.
If you know you are not licensed, you will have to register with the LGCCC or find a sponsor organization to host the event in your place (and then donate the profits to your organization). For example, Elks Lodge #123 might decide to host a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to The School for Gifted Youngsters.
If you are registered, make sure that the expiration date does not fall before your scheduled fundraiser (don’t worry too much IF it does! it just means we’ll all have to work a little bit closer to ensure no illegalities). Otherwise, you’re clear to begin the actual event planning!
The Planning Stages
Making the Most of Your Event
Check Your Registration!
The first stage is to make sure your organization is registered with the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission and it hasn’t or will not expire before your event date. Making a call in the beginning will save you a lot of hassle later on. Be sure to have a copy of this registration on hand. We will need it later for completion of paperwork.
The Size of the Event
There is a very simple scale associated with the size of your event: More Guests = More Money = More Work. If you want to make $30,000 at the door, you’re going to need 300 guests. On the other hand however, this means you will need more tables and a larger venue, which will in turn cost you more. As a result, you will need more donations and more (or bigger) sponsorships. We find most organizations are comfortable in the 100-150 guest range but do not let that stop you from going bigger! Bigger is better but your ultimate goal should be finding a balance. You can always increase the guest capacity next year!
We highly recommend 1 table for every 10 guests at your event. Since casino tables on average seat 7 players, this ratio gives you the absolute best value. You want as many people playing as possible, but not everyone will be there to play the entire time. Some people are going to mingle and some are going to watch. Many will break for food, or go to the bathroom, or get a drink and may get caught up in the mingling. We call this the “vacancy factor” and already account for it in our recommendation. For example, at a 10 table event for 100 people, there will be roughly 70 seats for players at any given time; allowing 30% of the people to engage in other activities without hurting your fundraising.
Now that you know how many guests you are anticipating, it is time to book a venue and a casino vendor (hey, that’s us!). Since this is a fundraiser, the main thing you want to focus on is value: how much do you get and at what quality per dollar? There are vendors and venues willing to give you bottom dollar deals but sacrifice quality. On the other hand, there are top-of-the-line companies out there that will charge you an arm and a leg. Your two-fold goal is to raise money and to allow your guests a great time. As a result, you want value. This is what NJ Casino Night offers to you and your guests: great value and smiling faces! Don’t forget to ask about our non-profit discount.
Depending on the venue, food may or may not be included. Be sure to ask about this as well! We highly recommend doing a buffet or just having hors d’oeuvres during the gaming. A sit down dinner tends to break the atmosphere of the casino and stall the associated income. If one is necessary, do it before or after the tables open or close. This ensures maximum profit from the casino itself.
At the bottom of this page, there is a “Potential Income Calculator” to help manage your costs vs. expected profit. Once you’ve made a decision on the venue, vendor, and food, you can enter them into that calculator or a similar tool to give you a better idea of costs and profits so far.
Donations and Sponsorships
The one fundraising idea that should be taken to heart: Have all your expenses covered before the doors to your event open. Get the prizes donated; get the tables sponsored; have your guests pay in advance. If you do this, you are guaranteed to turn a profit. From then on, whatever income you get the night itself will be a great bonus.
To get sponsors, think of your casino night as a marketing opportunity. This exciting event is pulling hundreds of people into one place. You can sell that to many businesses as a way to advertise. Put their ads on display in your event’s booklet, by the prize tables, the sign-up or rebuy table, or even on the casino tables themselves. Put the ads wherever appropriate for the type of ad and level of sponsorship. Most businesses would be happy to help their community while also getting to market themselves (and they get a tax break too!). Don’t forget to reach out to more than just local businesses. The owner of that McDonald’s down the street is also a member of the community. You may even get lucky and score a big time sponsor like Coca-Cola or Budweiser!
Don’t forget to log these numbers in your profit calculator!
Setting the Door and Rebuy Prices
This is where that profit calculation spreadsheet is going to come in most handy. You’ve logged the cost for the casino tables, venue, and food and now you’ve taken into consideration the prize donations and sponsorships. All other costs should be covered by this step. Let’s say, hypothetically, for your 100 person event, you still are at negative $1,000 (don’t get nervous! this is before any guests have signed up). If you want to break even at the door, you have to charge at least $10. If you decide to charge an average door price of $75, you’re going to make $6,500 just at the door! And there is still plenty more to be made from rebuys, 50/50s, specials, and all your other activities.
We don’t recommend charging less than $40/person at the door because it is a fundraiser and you can’t raise money if you’re giving things away. We’ve seen the ticket price upwards of $150. This entry price usually includes food and their first $1000 in funny money. It can also include alcohol if you are doing an open bar.
The rebuy price is the conversion rate of real money to funny money. Throughout the night, your guests will need to get more funny money in order to keep playing. We find it’s very simple and effective to do $20 for another $1000, but are certainly willing to do it differently. You can also consider selling raffle tickets directly. The cost of tickets directly will vary based on your rebuy rate and your chips-to-raffle ratio. Your Event Manager will be able to assist you with this.
The last thing you’ll need to plan are other fundraising activities for your guests! Why limit the options to one thing when a casino night pairs so well with a lot of different ways to raise money? Here are just a few of them we have seen:
- 50/50 Raffle
- Silent Auction
- The Money Grab
- The Chance Wheel
- The Lucky Key
- Hole-In-One Golf
There are many other activities that could enhance your casino night fundraiser. Being creative pays off! If you’d like to learn more about any of the additional activities, your representative will be happy to explain them. Some of them we may be able to offer for free!
Making Sure Your Event is Legal
Supplying Your LGCCC Registration
In order to complete any of the following steps, your casino rental provider will need a copy of your Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission Registration (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?). You can either send it over with your deposit, fax it to us, or email it to your representative. If you do not have a registration yet, you’ll have to register your organization with the NJLGCCC before you can host one. Alternatively, you can find a registered organization to host the event in their name and donate the proceeds to yours. If you are unsure of your organizations current status, please call or visit the LGCCC.
We Complete Your Paperwork
Once your provider (in this case, NJ Casino Nights) has received the deposit, the LGCCC registration, and has confirmed the date, times, and venue, they will mail you the necessary Form 13. This form will be signed and notarized by your casino provider indicating that they are licensed by the State to hold a casino night fundraiser.
The provider also sends your event’s certification to the State, indicating its time and place. This alerts the LGCCC to your event and indicates that it is being hosted by a licensed organized (you) and run by a licensed provider (us). They may send an inspector to visit your event to ensure everything is in compliance with state regulations. Your casino night provider can supply you with the applicable lawbook if you wish to review it yourself — but as long as you adhere to our recommendations and guidelines, you will have nothing to worry about!
The Form 13
Bring the Form 13 to your local municipality with two $100 checks: one made payable to the NJLGCCC and one made payable to the town. Feel free to call up the local clerks office for specifics on who to make it payable to as it may vary by town.
PLEASE NOTE: The municipality where the event is being held may be different from your municipality or the municipality in which the organization is registered. You want to bring the Form 13 to the municipality in which the event is being held.
The State recommends allowing 4-6 weeks for processing time. However, since every city has a different way of doing things, we highly recommend checking in with the appropriate town well ahead of time so that you do not miss your deadline. It has happened before! Don’t let it happen to you.
Hearing Back About Your Event
The State will only respond to your request for a license if you have failed your background check or screwed up some where in the licensing process. If you are organized, diligent, and are not trying to scam anyone, you’ll have no reason to worry.
Again, each city has a different way of doing things. Some may send you a physical license; some may just call you up to give you the go ahead; and some may just say nothing at all (unless you are denied). It’s worth asking what to expect when you drop off your Form 13.