Students looking to get their thrills while donating to a charitable cause were in luck at this year’s Casino-in-the-Woods.
The 37th annual Casino-in-the-Woods took place on Saturday night and offered students the opportunity to legally gamble, with proceeds going toward a good cause.
The fully functioning dining hall-turned-casino featured blackjack, roulette, money-wheel, beat the dealer and joker seven tables.
Nathan Karsenty, the CIW area-wide treasurer and a junior majoring in accounting, worked to obtain the gambling license that made the event possible.
“We usually start about a month or two before the event to ensure we have all parts of the license forms necessary,” he said. “I worked with the SA VPF and the Town of Vestal to obtain the Games of Chance License.”
Karsenty described the event as a huge success, with more than 700 admission-paying patrons in attendance — the first hundred of whom received free plastic masks.
“Between admissions and gaming revenue, we were able to collect about $6,000,” Karsenty said. “From that, we are able to donate about $3,400, a 36 percent increase from last year.”
Proceeds from the event went to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Scholars program, an organization working towards raising $21,000 to help rebuild a children’s playground in the Binghamton community.
“We always like to keep Casino-in-the-Woods charities local,” Karsenty said.
The dining hall, which was decorated with masks and murals in line with the masquerade theme, closed at 5 p.m. the day before in order to prepare.
The casino was entirely student-run, and all of the casino dealers were trained student volunteers.
Jill Chen, a sophomore double-majoring in accounting and Chinese, helped organize the dealer training for the event.
“To be a dealer required a three-hour commitment,” she said. “We held training sessions that were an hour long in order to go over rules and procedures for working in a casino.”
The dealers were assigned based on their preferences and their skills. Belinda Wang, a junior majoring in English, was a dealer running the casino game “Beat The Dealer.”
“The training was very fun, relaxing and casual,” she said.
For some students, like Sawyer Rock, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, it was their first time dealing cards.
“As a dealer it [was] cool to see the event from another side, instead of just being a participant,” Rock said.
Esther Lenderman, a junior majoring in cinema, was working at Casino-in-the-Woods for the second time.
“I did this last year for community service,” she said. “I loved doing it so much that I decided to volunteer again, this time on my own. It’s really cool being a hotshot blackjack dealer. It is also a great way to meet people and support a great cause.”
Some students who came to the event were willing to gamble their money away more than others.
“I started out with $52,” said Greg Mongan, a freshman majoring in economics. “If I lose all my money I might be spending more than that, but it’s all for charity.”
Other students were less willing to gamble with a lot of cash.
Lauren Lewandowski, a junior majoring in biological anthropology, put in $5.
“We’ll see how quickly I lose my money,” she said. “I came to the event hoping to have some fun while winning at the same time.”