An Eco-Future for Poker: What Are Companies Doing To Help?
- Are live poker tournaments really environmentally friendly?
- We take a look at how live poker tournaments impact the environment
- Tips that poker operators can follow to make poker more green
- Online poker is the answer for players who are conscious about going green (don’t reveal the answer at the beginning, this should be saved for the conclusion. Instead, say we discuss a possible answer/solution to the problem).
In this article, we look at why poker operators must also play their role in making poker tournaments more environmentally friendly. We share key strategies, tips and also show poker players what they can do to make more ‘green’!
- How Green Is Poker?
- Environment Impact
- Team Earth
- EGM Green
- Online Poker
- Fight Plastic Pollution
- Eco Playing Card
On the surface, poker appears unrelated to environmental issues. However, a deeper examination reveals just how much of an impact the poker industry has on the environment. Here, we explore how players and industry representatives have a role to play in reducing their carbon footprint and caring for the environment.
How Green is Poker?
Have you ever been to a poker tournament?
Since venues worldwide host several poker tournaments, the poker industry contributes to environmental pollution just as much as the travel and tourism industry.
Playing poker alone may not hurt the environment, but consider how players from all over the world travel to poker venues via car or plane. Furthermore, the energy casinos require for the day-to-day running also impacts the environment negatively.
In addition, live poker tournaments create waste in the form of food wrappers, cigarette butts, disposable plates, water bottles, and soda bottles. To make matters worse, Las Vegas has no effective recycling program, and casinos make the landfills larger with every poker tournament they host.
One can argue that any event involving thousands of people will generate waste, but that is no excuse for the poker industry. Like all other businesses and individuals, the poker industry is also duty-bound to search and execute ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
Impact of Poker on the Environment
When we talk about the impact of poker on the environment, we must start with Las Vegas. A desert city that never sleeps, Las Vegas attracts gamblers from all over the world. Several environmental studies conclude that Las Vegas is the least environmentally conscious state in the world, largely thanks to the enormous amounts of energy and water it consumes.
Treehugger, an environmental blog, featured a post in 2008 about Las Vegas being in danger of facing a severe water shortage by 2021. The blogger cited a study conducted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, estimating that the city has a 50% chance of running out of water if it does not make any significant cutbacks.
Sin City requires an unimaginable amount of electricity to operate its land-based casinos, which is why so many environmentalists question just how environmentally-friendly the ‘entertainment capital of the world’ really is.
Harrah’s announced in 2009 that it was joining several companies, including Wrigley, Starbucks and Dell, to become a founder member of Team Earth, an initiative uniting non-profit organizations, businesses, educators, scientists, and individuals to address important environmental issues. Harrah’s started offering carbon offsets in 2008 to reduce the environmental impacts of vacationing in Las Vegas.
The massive CityCenter has also taken steps to go green. The company got a gold rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a US Green Building Council rating system. CityCenter uses several green technologies, including onsite power plants and reclaimed water, which save energy equal to that used in over 7000 homes.
EGM Green Makes Eco-friendly Poker Tables
EGM Green, for example, produces several eco-friendly gambling products, including lounge furniture, craps tables, and poker tables.
The company uses up to 97% naturally sustainable material and 100% recycled synthetic fiber to make gaming tables.
The company displayed one of its eco-friendly tables at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2008.
EGM Green President, Eric Hansel said many poker players are least bothered about environmental issues, whereas a select few have voiced their concerns about protecting the environment. He says over the last two years, the poker industry is increasingly becoming more ‘green’, and the company has been making players aware that they can use green poker tables without giving up their luxurious lifestyles.
EGM Green has bagged an international gaming award for its eco-friendly initiatives. Company CEO Hansel says that sustainability will change the way casinos operate, and the casinos of a decade ago cannot operate in the same way as those in the present.
Play Online Poker to Save the Environment
We cannot stop traveling because we are humans who enjoy socializing, traveling, and interacting with other humans all over the world. That’s not to say we don’t have a role to play in saving the environment and reducing pollution by limiting unnecessary travel. One of the ways to do so is by switching to playing poker online.
Signing up at online poker sites is the most eco-friendly activity for poker enthusiasts. Online poker rooms, like BetOnline Poker, host several cash poker games and online poker tournaments, giving you plenty of opportunities to win cash prizes, meet poker buddies from all over the world, socialize, and play poker with friends.
You can also learn how to play poker online without spending any money by playing demos and simulated poker games, watch videos from poker pros and read valuable poker content free of cost.
888poker Joins the Fight Against Plastic Pollution
888poker joined the fight against plastic pollution by first addressing the problem of tamper-evident chip bags, which are a necessary evil at live poker tournaments.
Tamper-evident chip bags serve several purposes. They prevent chip count discrepancies, serve administrative purposes, reduce pack-up time at the end of each tournament day, speed up the setting-up procedure at the beginning and end of each tournament day, promote player offers and marketing. They also serve a hygienic purpose by preventing the spread of germs.
888poker proposed to replace plastic tamper-evident bags with biodegradable versions in partnership with ECOSEC.
The online poker room intends to show the world that the poker industry can adopt eco-friendly ways and play its role in helping to save the environment.
ECOSEC CEO Karim Louis is a poker player who participated in several poker festivals before developing the concept of biodegradable chip bags.
According to Karim Louis, the biodegradable bag had to be bold because players regularly post pictures of their chip bags to let their social media followers and fans track their progress in poker tournaments. The bags feature biodegradable text in green font, prompts to post social media pictures, and messages to plant a tree for every thousand bags used.
By partnering with ECOSEC in its fight against plastic and efforts to go green, 888poker proved that poker companies can do their bit to save the environment. The operator delivered the message that poker companies can collaboratively work to have a positive impact on the environment and reduce plastic use all over the world.
Efforts of the Poker Industry to Go Green
The United States Playing Card Company, which makes playing cards bearing the Bicycle brand, uses sustainable forest pages, inks based on vegetables, and lamination based on starch.
The cards and the case holding them can both be recycled.
We have already mentioned EGM Green, but here comes the interesting part. In 2008, Executive Gaming Monthly introduced eco-friendly poker tables bearing the EGM Green brand. It completely changed the way poker players think of the concept of going green. The company uses wood certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, stains and paints free from formaldehyde, and water-based adhesives.
EGM Green poker tables formed a part of the exhibit area of the WSOP 2008. The hosts gave away one of these eco-friendly tables to Peter Eastgate, the winner of the WSOP main event. A year later, Eastgate auctioned off his table to raise funds for Friends of Eastgate, a charitable organization he had started. EGM Green continues to offer a wide range of eco-friendly products to luxury establishments and casinos hosting poker and other table games.
International casino companies are also doing their bit to go green. Caesar’s Entertainment, the sponsor of the WSOP, purchased carbon offsets to reduce waste and energy consumption during the poker tournament. Caesar’s Entertainment was the first US gaming company to receive the Environmental Quality Award from Region Two of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Online casinos and online poker rooms have also joined the movement to protect the environment. Online poker rooms use eco-friendly processors for their services. For example, Betfair Poker replaced its old processors with eco-friendly and low-energy processors, reducing its energy consumption by more than 80%.
We humans cannot fully eliminate the harmful effects of our activities on earth. But it is heartening to know that the casino gaming, entertainment, and poker industries are doing everything in their power to reduce their carbon imprint, cut down energy consumption, use eco-friendly products and servers, and develop eco-friendly policies. Every single effort helps in creating a greener and cleaner world.
(as advised at the beginning, mention how players who attend casinos, be it for business or leisure, can also play an integral role in reducing damage to the environment by playing online).