The annual Casino Night event has been canceled indefinitely due to a concern of promoting gambling. Casino Night had drawn in 300 to 500 students each since 2011, according to Director of Residential Life Nathan Roberts, which made it one of the most popular events put on by Residential Life.
Roberts said the event had been under review since the beginning of spring to determine if it was “furthering the mission of the university and furthering the mission of Residential Life.”
“The main goal was a social activity where you get a lot of people involved,” Roberts said. “And we just felt like there is a better way we can do this without maybe implying that we’re supporting gambling.”
When the recent budget cuts by Governor Eric Greitens came into effect, Roberts said canceling Casino Night was a “great opportunity to cut that out of [the] budget and focus those funds elsewhere.”
Throughout the event, students could play card games, slot machines and roulette. While the money was fake, there were real prizes to be won– one reason the event was so popular.
“If you’re gonna give away $5,000 in electronics and free food, that tends to draw in a pretty good crowd,” Roberts said.
Natalie Miller, an early childhood education junior and Residential Assistant in Leaverton Hall, has seen students enjoy Casino Night over the past years.
“It gets them out of their dorm and it gives them a fun environment to hang out with their friends and win prizes,” Miller said.
Although she personally does not have a problem with the gambling theme, she accepts the cancellation.
“I don’t see a problem with having it on campus, but if it was canceled, it was canceled for a reason,” Miller said. “It was disheartening for some students, but it is what it is.”
Although the budget cut was a factor in the termination of Casino Night, the main concern was the gambling theme.
“It was the perception that we’re giving away a lot of money and how [that is] tied to the academic mission of the institution and of Residential Life,” Roberts said. “And then there are folks who have gambling addiction problems, we have a casino in town.”
While there is no event planned to replace Casino Night this year, there will be another social event for students in the future.
“We just haven’t really found a program that we liked that would be a signature event for Residential Life,” Roberts said.
While Casino Night is over, there is a similar event students can look forward to.
“We have the Breakfast & Bingo where we play bingo and give away a lot of prizes to the student population, and we’re basically doing the same thing [at Casino Night] but with more of a gambling atmosphere,” Roberts said.