GIGSE Organizers Raise Money for Gordon House

24 April 2006

The Gordon House Association, a UK-based provider of residential support for gamblers recovering from addiction, will be the official charity of the River City Group-sponsored Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo (GIGSE).

For the past two years, River City Group has selected a charity to sponsor during their GIGSE event, and has raised more than $75,000 from attending gaming businesses. For the 2006 show, cash donations for Gordon House have already exceeded $107,000.

With programs to its credit including GamAid and GamStop and more than 30 years of experience in providing specialized support and treatment to acutely addicted gamblers, River City Group CEO Sue Schneider said the Gordon House Association is a perfect fit for GIGSE's mission of cultivating a responsible interactive gaming community.

"When we pick our official charity, we try to find an organization that makes a difference in our industry," Schneider said. "Gordon House is able to make a difference internationally. That was important in our selection process."

In support of the charity drive, GIGSE organizers will host two charity events, the first of which is a "drag race" where competitors will strap on Velcro shoes and run down a Velcro track. The event is set up in a grudge match format, pitting industry rivals against each other for nothing more than bragging rights.

Schneider said any delegates who come to watch the matches will receive $1,000 in play money to bet on the participants sprinting the challenging track. She said guest bookmakers will offer odds on the races, professionally handicapping the matches.

The headliner match will feature two competitive CEOs of online companies recently embattled in a bitter acquisition deal. Newly named Party Gaming CEO Mitch Garber will face Empire Online CEO Noam Lanir in the day's final match.

"We try to make the grudge matches interesting," Schneider said. "We ask a bunch of people and a lot of them say no. But the people we have selected all expressed their desire to do something in the worthwhile name of charity."

Also racing is Casino City's own CEO, Michael Corfman. His opponent is Ken Driefach, former Chief of the Internet Bureau for the New York Attorney General's Office.

Although no longer affiliated with the Attorney General, Driefach is a keynote speaker at the GIGSE event and has participated in GIGSE in the past. Typically, he speaks about legislation and litigation affecting the industry, but said this year he might expand his range of topics now that he's moved to private practice.

Driefach's former office was involved in litigation that went after credit card processing companies that provided funding for online gaming participants. Their most well known target was PayPal, an online processor no longer accepting transactions to and from online gambling Web sites.

Corfman represents the other side of the argument, advocating for a player's right to gamble online. He too was recently involved in litigation, fighting the Department of Justice's attempts to ban online gaming and advertising. He is an outspoken critic of government intervention in gaming.

Although for a time they were natural rivals, neither racer feels any animosity towards the other. Both are setting aside their personal interests for a chance to do some good. Corfman said he respects everyone's opinions about online gaming issues, whether he agrees with them or not.

"I believe it's important for all businesses to support their community," Corfman said. "Particularly in an industry like gaming where some people have problems keeping to limits, it's incumbent on us to do whatever we can to help people who get themselves into trouble."

Driefach agrees with Corfman about the need to raise money and awareness.

"I'll do anything for charity and this is certainly a good cause," Driefach said. "Honestly, the more the gambling industry takes steps like this to solve its own business issues, the more credibility it earns."

Other drag races include River City Group's Nancy Krause versus Kerry Mills of TrustMarque in the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun Match" and WireCard's Patrick Mosbach versus PayinPayout's Metod Topolnik in the "Battle of the German Payment Processors Match."

The second charity event is a silent auction. All proceeds from the charity events will go to the Gordon House Association charity fund.

River City Group expects more than 1,500 participants from more than 42 countries to attend the annual GIGSE event from May 16-18, eclipsing last year's record attendance.

GIGSE is the interactive gaming community's largest trade show, drawing relevant businesses from around the globe. To date, 117 companies have reserved exhibit and conference space, making this the biggest show since its inception eight years ago.

"The reservations have been overwhelming," Schneider said. "Our industry continues to grow. Some companies are sending delegations of 10-20 people for the information and networking opportunities the show provides."

The three-day event will be held at the Palais des Congres in Montreal. Seminars will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 16, and will run all three days, focusing on the transformation of the industry and issues facing the interactive gaming community.

To accommodate the record crowd, Schneider said GIGSE organizers have extended exhibition hours and added extra conference space for all three days.

Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. Email your comments and questions to him at .

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Related Links
Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo (GIGSE) 2006
Kahnawake Online Gambling
Québec Online Gambling