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The Cosmopolitan allows gamblers to donate spare change directly to charity instead of cashing out

Kristyn Leonard
Kristyn Leonard
CommunityIndyBlog
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Photo of The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Slot players who end up with spare change may not have much use for these leftover pennies, but The Cosmopolitan knows some organizations that do.

The Las Vegas Strip casino is giving gamblers the option to donate their change directly to charity, a program that has raised more than $26,000 in its first six months. It recently announced the four charities guests can donate their winnings to when they cash out from January to March 2020: HELP of Southern Nevada, Goodie Two Shoes, SHARE Village and the American Heart Association. 

HELP of Southern Nevada is a non-profit whose services include homeless centers and work readiness programs. Goodie Two Shoes provides disadvantaged children with socks, shoes, and other essential items. SHARE Village, previously known as Veterans Village, helps people transition out of homelessness with a particular focus on serving veterans.

The only national nonprofit on the list, the American Heart Association, funds research in an effort to reduce disability and death due to cardiovascular disease. 

The donation process is meant to be simple in order to encourage participation. When guests are cashing out at any ATM on the casino floor, a prompt on the screen asks whether they would like to donate their change. If the guest chooses to donate, they select which charities they prefer and the donation is then distributed between them.

The program first debuted in Las Vegas in 2017 at the M Resort Spa Casino, but The Cosmopolitan was the first casino on the Strip to take part, starting in July 2019. Since then, there have been more than 124,000 donations, averaging $0.21 cents each.

Carey Leslie, visiting from Portland, had already donated some of her winnings. She said she hadn’t seen a program like this before and that she’s excited to recommend The Cosmopolitan to other visitors because of it. 

“I already did tell people,” said Leslie. “We talked about it, and we thought it was pretty cool.”

Another casino guest said she had purposely cashed out when she saw her ticket had $0.99 in change just to make sure she could donate the full $0.99 before it crossed the dollar line. 

Since the program began, 12 percent of guests have chosen to donate their change. The Cosmopolitan matches up to $10,000 of guest donations each quarter. The majority of the nonprofits chosen for The Cosmopolitan’s program are local, and in the past have included The Shade Tree, Opportunity Village, and the Nevada Humane Society.

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