Online Gaming to tackle world Poverty
By paul
An “influential group of industry insiders” have joined forces to create IGIPRP, the International Gaming Industry Poverty Relief Project, according to a press release received by The IGIPRP aims to raise $1 billion by 2006 to help combat global poverty.

IGIPRP describes its vision as one in which “a united, healthy, secure, and growing international gaming industry provides funds to measurably relieve world poverty”. A laudable cause no doubt, but how exactly is this going to be achieved? Details are sketchy at best from the press release, but if you wish to find out more, there is a contact form available at the site:

Paul Lavers, CEO of Comprehensive Sports Information, operator of sports betting information site, is a founding member of IGIPRP. Lavers says of the rationale behind this new initiative: 'Gambling has always been a way of funding social causes, from bingo money for food banks to casinos for community services to lotteries for health and education spending. Many of the folks in the online gaming industry have felt that there should be some way for gambling at this scale - it's really a global activity - to help a global cause.'

As the press release states, online gamblers are mostly from the richest 20% of the world’s population which enjoys 86% of the world’s wealth. When you consider that the poorest 20% of the world’s population receives only 1.5% of the wealth, and the online gaming industry is projected to generate $6 billion this year, $10 billion annually within the next few years, the IGIPRP project makes a lot of sense.

In terms of practicalities, not much seems to have been put forward –other casinos that give to charity, such as, operate an affiliate marketing style scheme, in addition to other ways of giving, like matching donations to the top winners’ payouts. It seems that the IGIPRP has yet to finalize specific plans.

The idea is also linked to improving the online gaming industry’s PR and developing a global self-regulatory body for the gaming industry – although again, details aren’t clear about how to do that. Regardless of whether the IGIPRP’s goals are achievable, the statistics about global poverty (available on the site) are sobering enough to make anybody think – and hopefully, act.

The press release acknowledges that the idea might be met with skepticism. When you consider that an unrelated organization, World Charity Casino’s auditor was convicted of securities fraud, money laundering and racketeering, it is easy to see where that skepticism comes from. However, there is nothing to suggest that Paul Lavers is anything other than a hardworking businessman, and that his motives (and those of the IGIPRP) are anything other than altruistic.

One last thought, and nothing to do with the IGIPRP: if the online casino industry can do it’s bit to end global poverty, do you think that maybe the weapons manufacturers of this world might just chip in a little? Just a thought...

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