PARTNER IN FOCUS - Caesars Entertainment helping to give athletes the start they need

Caesars Entertainment is one of the most established and innovative names in the casino industry worldwide. The company has been a market leader for over 40 years, and as Caesars Entertainment EMEA, offers the best of the brand, with a portfolio of gaming, entertainment, restaurants and bars at locations throughout the United Kingdom, South Africa, Egypt and Dubai. Caesars and SportsAid have been in partnership since 2012.
18 March, 2019

Caesars Entertainment is one of the most established and innovative names in the casino industry worldwide. The company has been a market leader for over 40 years, and as Caesars Entertainment EMEA, it offers the best of the brand, with a diverse portfolio of gaming, entertainment, restaurants and bars at locations throughout the United Kingdom, South Africa, Egypt and Dubai.

Caesars Entertainment provides young British athletes with financial support and recognition through its partnership with SportsAid. Each athlete receives an annual £1,000 award which contributes towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment. This year, Caesars is helping eight up-and-coming sports stars across six disabled and non-disabled disciplines.

The staff at Caesars are excellent fundraisers and have generated over £20,000 from their SportsAid Week activity - which includes a poker tournament and a white water rafting day - in recent years. Caesars also sponsor the charity's #SupportTheNext Trophy - a wheelchair basketball competition which takes place annually at the Copperbox Arena in London.

Here, Sarah Sculpher, Chief Marketing Officer of Caesars Entertainment EMEA, explains more about the partnership....

What is the history behind Caesars Entertainment? How has the company evolved over time?

“We are actually one of the longest established casino companies in Europe – with a history spanning over 40 years under the trading name London Clubs International. In December 2006, Caesars Entertainment, the largest gaming operator in the world acquired London Clubs International which was one of the first moves Caesars made into international markets. The industry has evolved over time, most notably post 2005 when legislation was changed to make casinos more accessible and therefore opened the doors (literally) to becoming true entertainment destinations.”

How did those changes in legislation make a difference?

“Prior to 2005 it was quite a complicated process to visit a casino, customers had to become members and fill out a form 24 hours before they intended to visit any casino in the UK – it wasn’t the case that once you joined one in a group you could visit them all. Furthermore, alcohol could not be consumed anywhere near the gaming tables so visiting a casino was a very different experience than it is today. Now customers don’t have to wait 24 hours to visit, don’t have to be members and can enjoy a range of non-gaming offerings within our venues. It is those changes that have driven the company to what we have become - which is as much an entertainment and hospitality provider as a gaming operator.”

What makes Caesars Entertainment different?

“Caesars Entertainment operate arguably the most diverse casinos in the UK incorporating branded partnership bars such as the Carlsberg Sports Bar in London’s Empire Casino, as well as partnerships with celebrity chefs such as James Martin and Marco Pierre White in our Manchester and Nottingham casinos respectively. Caesars Entertainment now operates eight casinos in the UK, a resort in South Africa, 50 casinos across North America and Canada and increasingly hotels around the world such as the newly opened resort in Dubai. It is now a truly global and dynamic hospitality company operating one of the largest loyalty programmes in the world with over 50 million members.”

How long has Caesars been working with SportsAid? How did the relationship begin?

“The relationship with Caesars Entertainment UK started in 2012 and we worked with SportsAid to create a ‘fighting fund’ to support young athletes in pursuit of combat sports, mainly boxing. For many years we were also a sponsor of the SportsBall. Over the years our partnership has grown to be more participative and diverse supporting a team of eight athletes annually from a range of disciplines in both able-bodied and disability sports. We tend to choose athletes that live near our casino properties so that local teams can really get behind them, raise additional money and really root for them! In more recent years, we have expanded to also sponsor events such as the #SupportTheNext Trophy, an annual wheelchair basketball tournament, and are an active participant in SportsAid Week. We held an industry charity Poker event in London and last year a hugely successful sponsored white water rafting race for teams from each of our casinos.”

What do you enjoy most about working with SportsAid? What was the main motivation behind supporting young athletes?

“SportsAid is such an inspiring charity. The dedication and commitment of the young athletes they support and their perseverance to do whatever it takes to be the best really aligns with our company values. The inspirational stories and achievements of those athletes are really uplifting and motivating. It’s also a charity you can really feel part of and invested in – you can follow the progress of the athletes and feel that you have played a part in helping to deliver achievements that are recognised around the world. We are a great sporting nation and ensuring there is a pipeline to ensure that continues is really important.”

How satisfying do you find it when hearing about the progress of the athletes supported by Caesars through SportsAid? How much do the staff engage and what do you hope for the future of the partnership?

“Hugely satisfying. We launch our athlete team around this time of year annually and make sure that all employees know who they are supporting. We then share their achievements via LinkedIn and our website and create opportunities for them to visit our teams and share their stories. The staff participate in all sorts of activity - the teams at the casinos organise more local initiatives such as sports days - fun and serious ones, sponsored static bike rides and poker tournaments. At a more corporate level, we have arranged our white water rafting race, as mentioned above, where teams can get involved. There is always something going on. We will continue to support SportsAid as much as we can – we have loved the recent events where we can compete and participate with other corporate partners and get to meet young athletes and famous alumni.”

Would you like to find out about how you could become a partner of SportsAid? You could create a unique partnership of your own and build a lasting relationship with the brightest prospects in British sport.