James Packer and his Crown Resorts casino giant pledged to give out $200 million over the next 10 years.
You probably know all the major casino tycoons: Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands, who’s campaigning to ban online gambling in the USA; Stanley Ho, the most influential casino boss in Macau and all over Asia; James Packer, the man behind world renowned gambling empire Crown, and many many more.
While the image of casino bosses is almost always negative in the eyes of ordinary people, thank you Hollywood very much, some of them are actually pretty keen on sharing their billions with the wider public, sponsoring certain events or even large organizations.
The very latest example is James Parker of Crown Resorts announcing he will give away $200 million to a brand new philanthropic foundation supporting arts and indigenous education. Australia’s richest man said half of the money, to come in $20 million installments over the next 10 years, will be originating from the casino business under Australian gambling laws, and the other half from the Packer family coffers.
Crown’s casino controversy
James Packer of Crown Resorts and his family pledged to give out $200 million to charities
• Half of the money will come from the casino group operating under Australian gambling laws
• The other half will be given by Packer family
• Educational and arts organizations stand to benefit
The move to give away $200 million comes in the wake of controversy around the latest plans for a casino development. The controversial gambling establishment is scheduled to be erected on Sydney’s foreshore, on waterfront public land at the Barangaroo site.
Australian gambling news has previously reported, that in order to move the project closer to reality, NSW government went on to change their own casino policy. Naturally, such a move was greeted with much criticism from Crown’s competitors and the general public.
The right time to set up a charity
Of course the creating of a new charity by Packer family will run into some heavy criticism, as it most certainly looks like the casino tycoon is trying to steer the public’s attention away from the casino project controversy.
Nonetheless, all good deeds are first of all good deeds, and the politics behind them come after. The new charity organization will be administered by Packer’s sister, Gretel. She had the following comments about the project: “This exciting collaboration between Crown Resorts and our family creates a platform from which to contribute towards strengthening communities in Australia and developing our artistic future.”
Louise Walsh, chief executive of Philanthropy Australia, welcomed Crown’s initiative and said the organization will encourage more Australian corporations and wealthy individuals to join in on the charitable causes. She said: “We are starting to see some serious mega gifts happening now in Australia and this is fantastic.”
Where does the charity idea come from
James Packer is of course the son of late media mogul Kerry Packer, and is currently one of the most wealthy people in Australia if not the wealthiest. His personal fortune is estimated to reach $7.2 billion, not counting the Crown’s actives of course.
According to James, the inspiration to set up a charity organization came from his parents. His sister, Gretel confirmed this, saying James and her learnt a great deal about philanthropy from their parents. The newly set up $200 million National Philanthropic Fund will commemorate their late father, Kerry Packer, and mother Roslyn.
Gretel Packer commented: ”Philanthropy has always been part of our family life, sometimes private, sometimes public, but always there. My parents have been wonderful role models for James and I in that regard, and in so many other ways, and we appreciate their example so much. We have always intended to make a large philanthropic commitment, and today we are in the position to fulfil that promise.”
Where will the money go?
The $200 million which the National Philanthropic Fund has committed to over the next ten years will come from the Packer family and the Crown Resorts casino group, as was mentioned previously. The funds will be split between different educational and arts charities and organizations.
Among those organizations to benefit from the funds are the Salvation Army, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, the Exodus and Father Bob Maguire foundation, and more. The Melbourne Theatre Company was one of the first arts organizations to be named a beneficiary, already promised to receive $2.5 million over the next five years.
James Packer had the following words in a statement about his latest commitment: “Today’s announcement commits us to another decade of financial support for organizations which work tirelessly to deliver services, assistance and opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”