Roulette wheel in motion with a bright and colorful background

Some gamblers’ losses at three Chandler area casinos made winners of three local nonprofits, including one in Mesa.

Child Crisis Arizona received a third of  $76,000 in so-called “self-excluded” jackpots collected by Gila River Hotels and Casinos.

The Mesa-based group that works Valleywide to strengthen the community’s most vulnerable children and families, build resiliency, and prevent crisis situations. 

The funds will help serve up to 200 children each night in their Emergency Children’s Placement Services which includes their foster care program, shelter and group home.

Each time someone hits a jackpot in any card or machine games or bingo at Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva casinos, management verifies “that the individual is able to win based on a pre-existing list of rules, regulations and behavior,” said spokeswoman Ashley Bold. 

And those who don’t pass the test don’t get to keep their winnings, which are set aside for the for the Gila River Cares Week of Giving.

“Week of Giving represents our commitment to supporting programs that help meet the needs of the community and make a difference in our state,” said Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos. “We are grateful that we were able to turn our annual celebration into a week of giving this year and continue to provide year-round support to nonprofits through our Gila River Cares program.”

Miracle League of Arizona of Scottsdale also was among the recipients. It offers a safe and successful baseball experience for children, teens, and adults with disabilities or special health care needs. 

The funds will allow them to continue serving nearly 400 families with special needs as well as help expand their family baseball sessions and provide personalized equipment to each player to allow them to participate safely at home.

Also benefitting the fund was Pawsitive Friendships in Gilbert, which helps children with special needs achieve their therapy goals by providing animal-assisted therapy. 

“The funds will allow them to continue providing services to their 11 facilities, as well as help train and equip new animal therapy teams and expand their services to additional schools,” Bold said.

The group was pawsitively delighted,

“Thank you to Gila River Hotels & Casinos for allowing us to continue serving the special needs community with animal therapy,” said Tosha Tharp, CEO of Pawsitive Friendships.

“This grant will allow us to continue providing services to our 11 facilities, as well as help us train and equip new animal therapy teams and expand our services to additional schools to create even more Pawsitive Friendships.”

Earlier this year, all Arizona nonprofits were eligible to apply to receive the self-excluded jackpot funds and a committee from Gila River Hotels & Casinos selected the recipients.


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