by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
March 5, 2009
While there are many professional online gamblers, the majority of those who play at an online casino play for fun. Assi Isac, a former development manager with internet casino website 888, has started a casino where users give back while playing games on the internet. Isac’s idea is to turn the profits that would normally go to the gambler at home to benefit American philanthropies.
Isac began to develop an online casino gambling software in 2006, which he has aptly named GoGiving. Isac and two others invested $600,000 in order to launch the user-version of the online casino this week, which he says should be up and running within the next few months. Isac, CEO at GoGiving, is currently working with various charity organizations to gather registrations for the site.
Isac says that private investors are currently “psychologically frozen,” but that he and his company presented the idea to a room of entrepreneurs at Bootcamp Ventures where he received a number of promising inquiries. Bootcamp Ventures is an organization in Israeli designed to provide new businesses with the investing opportunities needed to launch an enterprise.
“GoGiving is a fundraising platform for registered NGOs, combining two of the fastest growing markets in the online industry – online gambling and online charities,” said Isac. “Today when you donate $2 by SMS, more than 50 percent of this money goes to other companies, and most goes to the ones in the middle. This is an outrage.”
Isac says that while his company will operate for profit, he promises to collect a substantially smaller commission on the money donated to charity through his online casino. Funds will be distributed by members when playing multi-user online casino games against other members. “We will be a central gateway, and audited by an external source like Ernst & Young or Pricewaterhouse Coopers” he explained.
The gamers that lose cash to other players will have a portion of their losses sent to a charity of the winning player’s choice. The games on GoGiving are said to be very competitive, and any earnings or donations made are tax deductible in the United States and wherever the software is installed.
“It’s a whole new attitude,” said Isac. “We want to concentrate on people around the world. We’ll be asking users: Who did you donate to and why?
“For the first time, NGOs will get premium services to access potential donors. Normally donors spend less than a minute on a website. Now they’ll be spending a lot more time, with the GoGiving games and the community. This is the perfect time to offer them exclusive and targeting information.”
While the site has been launched, the games are not yet available to potential users. Isac and his team, instead, have provided information for needy charitable organizations. There is a notice posted on the website, which prompts nonprofit organizations in the U.S. to join he beta program by contacting the GoGiving team at beta@GoGiving.org.
For more information, users may contact Isac or his team members at info@GoGiving.org