Americans love to gamble, as evidenced by the ubiquity of lotteries, the growing number of local casinos, and the remarkable success of Las Vegas.
One place Americans can’t legally gamble is online because, except in a few states, the current laws prohibit it. Right now, the closest legal substitute that exists for Americans is virtual gambling at sites like Zynga, where people pay literally billions of dollars a year in real money to buy tokens that allow them to play virtual slot machines and tables games. By virtual, I mean that even though the consumers pay real money, they can’t win cash prizes, but rather things like online trophies or more tokens that allow them to play the games longer.
Obviously, people are having a lot of fun doing virtual gambling, as evidenced by how much they spend doing it, both in terms of time and money.
But the time has come to make virtual gambling both a whole lot more fun and a whole lot more meaningful. How? Some friends of mine came up with an incredibly simple idea, but one that is so amazingly smart and powerful that I begged them to let me be part of it.
So here is the idea: Instead of paying $1 to Zynga to gamble, you go to a new site called SpinForGood, and for that same $1, you gain entry into a tournament in which you compete against a whole bunch of other players. At the beginning of the tournament, you pick a charity to be your beneficiary if you do well. When the tournament ends, the prize money is distributed to the charities of the winners. Gamers get to have their fun playing their games, their entry fees are tax deductible, they get the extra warm glow of joy that comes with knowing that 80 percent of their entry fee goes to charities, and the better they themselves play, the more goes to their favorite charity.
The only loser: Zynga’s shareholders.
Check out SpinForGood, and let us know what you think in the comments sections below. The site has just launched and could benefit so much from your great ideas!