It makes strange reading coming from the home state of online gambling's would-be nemesis Sen. Jon Kyl, but a Scottsdale, Arizona based company has launched an online gaming website with enough differences to avoid the wrath of the anti-gambling lobby.
According to reports this weekend in the newspaper The Arizona Republic, a company called Charity Stakes LLC has launched a membership-based online gaming site with three charities as donation recipients. And at Charity Stakes.com, gamers can also elect to support other organisations, including contributions to the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.
CharityStakes members pay $19.95 a month for unlimited access to four online casino games and to pools for various sporting events. Of each member's fee, $5 a month goes to a charity and $5 to winners' pools.
Worthy charities include the American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the newspaper reports.
Members are guaranteed ‘countless hours per month (24/7) of fun and exciting games, tournaments, contests', the website boasts. "In addition, they will receive various sports information and news, all the while giving them the opportunity for a great chance to win huge cash prizes and contests."
The chief executive officer of the company, Barbara Bucca told the Arizona Republic that Charity Stakes.com, is not a gambling Web site because members do not gamble and cannot lose their money. She and co-founder Michael Schapp said they started the company as a fundraising vehicle for charities and an alternative to online gambling.
The monthly subscription allows users of the site unlimited monthly access to play against other members in any of the four localised games, and the opportunity to participate in pools for seven different sporting events.
"Charity Stakes members never gamble their money; therefore, they are never able to lose money," the website blurb informs. "The platform encourages competitive casino games and athletic team betting, with the ability to win prizes without the risk of losing money."
"My business partner and I have created Charity Stakes.com, the only club format gaming site," says co-founder MIchael Schapp. "The site's primary goal is to secure funding for charities, organizations and Unions that have been strategically screened and selected," he adds. The secondary goal is to offer a safe and positive alternative to online gambling.
"Texas-Holdem and other poker tournaments, including casino and Las Vegas nights, have surpassed golf as the #1 fundraiser, in America today," the website advises. "By utilizing our club format and your members and supporters, together we can raise huge amounts of money each and every month of the year."