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Step by step guide: casino night

Dust off your glad rags and transform yourself into Daniel Craig or Eva Green for the evening! Use a professional casino provider and dress up your school hall for a glamourous night of high drama and high living. Martini? Don't mind if I do...

Gambling and alcohol might not suit every PTA, so speak to your head teacher and committee to canvas opinion before you start planning this type of event. But those PTAs who have enjoyed success with race nights or murder mystery evenings should definitely give a casino event a try! Bear in mind that a casino supplier will charge around £300 (which includes staff to run it), so this might not be your biggest fundraiser, but it certainly promises to be an event with a difference! Agree a theme and encourage guests to dress appropriately - try James Bond, black and white or gangsters and molls.

Planning

  • Firstly book a supplier well in advance of your proposed date and reserve the school hall.

  • Consider whether to provide a full meal, a buffet or just nibbles. If providing hot food, will this be prepared on the premises or delivered? Your choice will largely depend on whether you theme your event and how glamourous you intend the evening to be!

  • Discuss timings with your casino supplier to work out when food should be served.

Costs and profits

  • Sell tickets in advance and adopt a ticket-only policy on the door. Make sure the ticket price covers your costs and provides a reasonable profit.

  • Raffles and prize draws are a great way to boost takings.

  • A social event of this nature wouldn't be right without a bar, however, licence requirements apply if selling alcohol - see at-a-glance guide to licences.

Volunteers needed

  • You'll need a few volunteers to check tickets on arrival and to help set up and clear away.

  • If providing food and/or a bar (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic), you'll need a few people to serve on the night.

Publicising the event

  • Publicising the event is crucial. Do this well in advance around the school as well as in local shops, community centres and in local papers.

Do you need a gambling licence?

No licence applies, but your event must meet the following terms: Non-commercial equal chance gaming includes games such as poker where the chances are equally favourable to all participants and players are not competing against a bank. The maximum amount that a player can be charged is £8 per day (including entrance fees, stakes and any other payments made in relation to the gaming). Organisers must ensure that the total amount paid out in prizes remains below £600 in total. The £8 limit is for the gaming element and would not include payment for drinks or food.

Charitable casino nights can be held as non-commercial prize gaming without an £8 per person limit applying so are the best option for PTAs. To qualify, players must be told that the PTA will benefit from the funds raised before play begins. Prizes must be advertised before the game starts and must not depend on the number of people playing or the stakes raised. In the case of PTA casino nights, the winners are most commonly determined by counting who has the most casino chips at the end of the night. Winners are then awarded their prizes.

For more information, go to the Gambling Commission website. 

For more information

  • There are several issues to consider relating to insurance, licences, etc. See our Event Planning Checklist  for more detail.

  • For our at-a-glance guide to Temporary Event Notices, click here

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.


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