The connotation of gambling is not typically a positive one; gamblers are not typically thought by “outsiders” to be generous or philanthropic. We in the poker industry know better, though, as every year, there are loads of live and online charity tournaments and funding drives, highlighted by the One Drop tournaments at the World Series of Poker. The latest charitable news comes from PokerStars, which just announced that it will be continuing its relationship with the Right to Play charity for another two years. The world’s largest poker room plans to contribute another £600,000 to the organization, bringing its total support to more than £1.5 million.
Whereas an organization like One Drop aims to bring life-sustaining clean water to impoverished areas around the world, Right to Play provides less tangible assistance. According to the group’s site, it uses “the power of play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities.”
Central to our approach is the theory: children learn best when they are experiencing lessons through play. It’s why each of our games is specifically designed to provide kids with the knowledge and skills they need to overcome adversity and to tackle the challenges affecting their communities. We tailor our programs to each locale’s context and need, whether it’s health concerns, lack of education, a need for peace or all three.
Once established, our regularly-scheduled programs and repetitive activities provide the children with a proactive routine. This helps them build on newly learned skills and attitudes to positively influence lasting change. As their learning evolves, these children grow from being unaware of their role in society to becoming advocates of positive behaviour within their communities.
Most of the communities in which Right to Play works are located in Africa. Other locations include the Middle East, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Canada, and even New York City.
In a press release, Sue Hammett, Head of Corporate Giving for PokerStars, said, “Right To Play makes such a positive impact to so many children around the world and PokerStars is incredibly proud to be able to support their valuable work. Using play to educate and empower is a philosophy that our players and staff really believe in. We’re delighted to be extending our partnership for two more years.”
Neil Child-Dyer, Partnerships Manager at Right To Play, added, “We are immensely proud of our partnership with PokerStars and extremely grateful for their continued support, not just in terms of funding but also for the exposure to their 108 million customers and the fabulous charity tournaments that they hold for Right To Play. Without the backing of our corporate partners like PokerStars, Right To Play would not be able to help as many children around the world.”
Naturally, an organization like Right to Play has partnered with a number of Athlete Ambassadors from around the world. More than 300 professional and Olympic athletes have worked with Right to Play, including such names Martina Hingis, Joey Cheek, Allyson Fenix, Summer Sanders, and Haile Gebrselassie.