Stakes were high on Saturday in the College-in-the-Woods dining hall, where students went all-in at the “Hollywoods Casino,” the 35th installment of an annual CIW tradition.
This year, proceeds from Casino-in-the-Woods will be donated to the United Way’s flood relief fund.
The CIW Area-wide Council secured a one-night Game of Chance license from the state to turn the dining hall into a fully operational, student-run casino that featured blackjack, roulette, money-wheel, beat the dealer and joker seven tables.
The money raised from the event goes toward a local charity each year. The council decided to donate the money to help with the continued flood relief following the September floods, according to Samantha Eilenberg, co-chair of the Casino-in-the-Woods committee and a senior majoring in psychology.
The event had slightly more than $5,000 in revenue, but after deducting for the event’s expenses, the relief fund should receive between $2,000 and $3,000, according to Eilenberg.
“We decided to donate to the flood relief because there was such terrible flooding in the fall, and we saw how devastated the community was by it,” Eilenberg said. “It’s something that hit so close to home and we had the perfect opportunity to give a lot back.”
Although approximately 100 fewer students attended Casino-in-the-Woods this year, Eilenberg said the casino this year generated more money — a sign that students were staying longer and spending more money.
“The fact that we raised more money this year, even with fewer people, says that the people who did come were having a great time so they ended up staying longer and gambling more,” Eilenberg said.
Ellenberg attributed the increase in revenue to the inclusion of live music to this year’s event.
The Binghamtonics, Rhythm Method and a band fronted by a CIW resident director performed for the event.
“The music was amazing — it really added a lot to the event,” Eilenberg said.
Evan Perlmutter, co-chair of the Casino-in-the-Woods committee and a resident assistant in CIW, said he helped oversee the training of the 40-plus student dealers running the tables.
Perlmutter, a senior majoring in political science, said he focused on teaching them the proper techniques to run a blackjack table, such as burning cards before each hand and saying, “All bets in.”
“People picked it up pretty easily,” Perlmutter said. “People were a little nervous at first, but once they got on the table and got comfortable, they did fine.”
The event did not have any huge cash-outs this year, Eilenberg said, nor did she believe there were any heavy losers.
“I heard that somebody cashed out over $100,” she said. “And I think some people brought $50 or $60 knowing they were probably going to lose it.”
Allyson Guidera, a senior majoring in human development, said she brought $10 to the event but intended to stay until she lost it, knowing the money went to a good cause.
“I was up for a little while,” Guidera said. “I kept my money by playing blackjack. I lost my money playing money wheel.”