I’ve had a fantastic idea. I’m going to build software for charities that allows them to set up little online games on their websites. People can register with their credit cards, set a limit on what they are prepared to gamble, and play the game. If they win, they get a small reward – maybe money, maybe a music download or internet coupon. But if they lose, the charity gets a donation.
What? Isn’t that immoral? It encourages people to gamble, which we generally consider to be a morally dodgy area… People might get addicted. There are cases of people committing suicide due to gambling addiction – and here you are helping to push them over the edge! Surely as a responsible citizen you should think twice before encouraging online gambling – even if it is for a good cause.
It’s not in the slightest bit immoral. The facts are:
- Online charity gambling already exists and is already popular. Check out the UK site Big Heart Bingo.
- Online charitable donation sites already exist – I’m always being stung by friends raising money on sites like JustGive.org.
- Charity gaming is popular throughout the U.S. – and it’s well regulated. Here are the charitable gaming laws.
- There are laws which restrict online gambling.
- Obviously we’d adhere to established codes of conduct around online gambling.
- We’ll make sure everyone is aware of what’s going on – we’ll make the interface so user-friendly that the player will be in no doubt that this is a fun way to make a charitable donation, nothing more than that.
- If it works out, I think the potential of this model for charities is huge.
Is it against the law?
No, why should it be?
Because it smells iffy to me. It seems like charities are a good thing for society, gambling is a bad thing for society, and never the twain shall meet.
I wouldn’t feel embarrassed explaining my business idea to friends – you could put it on the front page of the newspaper if you liked. In fact, I’d be pleased – the more publicity the better as we’ll draw more players and more donations!
Would your Mom play it?
She’s 84, so unlikely. But we don’t have to do what the old people do. We have to engage the young generations.
It’s a dilemma which balances the issue of fundraising for individual charities with the greater good of society.
Sure, only I think charities benefit a great number of people whereas gambling addiction affects only a few – and generally because those people have other problems which underlie the addiction.
How can we do this safely?
- We’ll do a test run with two or three small charities.
- We’ll set limits on how much an individual can donate by this means.
- We’ll monitor the activity – see if the same players are coming back a bit too often.
- We’ll see whether it’s worth the return on investment…
It’s just money, money, money for you! You’ve turned an ethical discussion about online gambling for charity into an economic argument!
Chill out. If people are going to get addicted to gambling and lose all their money, they’ll get addicted to gambling and lose all their money. They might as well benefit a charity while doing so.Google+