While most people do not usually think of casinos as leaders in socially conscious actions, Las Vegas-based casinos are looking to change that. The city itself is changing from its over-the-top neon lights to more LED screens, while casinos continue to cut energy and water usage.
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren has won many awards for his green-friendly practices, which include locally sourcing materials to save on waste, a power generating facility and rooms which turn off lights automatically once the guest exists. Caesars Entertainment has done their share as well, which include philanthropic gestures such as melting down used soap and creating new soaps, which are given to those in need.
Used towels and pillowcases which have seen better days are also re-purposed, into cleaning rags. Guests on the casino floor receive wine which is poured from a keg, as opposed to glass bottles. Caesars realized that most people come to Vegas without wanting to think about recycling, and the such. Eric Dominguez, corporate director of energy and environmental services said, “It’s just another way to make sustainability and efficiency easier on our guests so they don’t have to think about it too much.”
While this all sounds good, some don’t care what good deeds they do, such as Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, who said, “The entire business of predatory gambling is based upon getting people to be irresponsible.” He continued, “From a big picture stand point, casinos produce one thing: inequality. If their business is based on producing inequality, it’s impossible to also be a company that does social good.”
Gregory C Unruh, professor of values leadership at George Mason University feels “Gaming is a vice for many people and it is a reasonable social question whether it should be permitted or not.” They are only a few of many who feel that social responsibility goes beyond helping the environment, and should take into consideration the well-being of society, which they feel is not helped in the slightest by gambling.
However, companies such as Caesars and MGM have implemented successful problem gambling procedures to cut it as much as they can. Companies encourage players not to gamble when drunk or depressed. Casinos have problem gambling brochures throughout, as well, to help patrons.
Bernal, skeptically said, “The concept of responsible gambling is nothing more than a public relations message.”