bring attendees the thrill of Las Vegas without the
expense and hassle of getting them there? Try a casino theme party
a special event with a distinctive theme and plenty of faux
gambling. The presence of gaming, even without real money changing
hands, will hook attendees for both corporate parties and charity
“If the client is thinking, ‘This is a good way to do something
interactive,’ then go for it,” says Jaclyn Bernstein, DMCP,
president and partner of Empire Force Events in New York City.
“Gaming will never go out of style.”
Here’s a how-to on planning a high-impact casino bash for
employee events or big-ticket fund-raisers.
Step one: Consider your audience
First, decide whether your group will enjoy a casino
party. Pay attention to the following:
These types of events work best for groups of at least 50
guests; any fewer and it won’t be as exciting. Also, they’re more
appropriate for employee meetings than for external client affairs.
“Unless you’re giving away a Mercedes, you’ll find clients are not
interested in fake gambling,” says Phelps Hope, CMP, president,
Aspen Productions Inc., based in Atlanta.
Younger crowds are more likely to take to it than older, says
Hope, as will salespeople, a naturally competitive bunch. These
groups also will be more likely to dress up to match a theme, if
Step two: Choose an operator
Before renting the venue, it’s a good idea to pick a casino theme
party operator, who will be a source of advice and equipment in the
gaming world. The operator will bring in games, dealers and often
One reliable source for operators is the SeaTac, Wash.-based
National Association of Casino & Theme Party Operators, whose
website, www.nactpo.com, contains a directory by state of
members, all of whom have pledged to follow a code of ethics.
Another is the International Special Events Society, based in
Chicago; www.ises.com offers a special listing of such
When evaluating a party provider, ask to see the gaming tables.
“There’s a lot of junk out there,” laments Jay Welch, owner of
Monte Carlo Associates Inc., based near Houston. Tables should be
true casino size: Though this varies, five by 12 feet is good for
craps, four by eight is fine for roulette and three by five is the
minimum for blackjack. The felt should be thicker and softer than a
pool table’s, clean and without tears or holes. In all, the
equipment must look substantial and authentic.
Lastly, be sure the vendor you choose has liability insurance,
notes Welch. As with any party, it is important that everyone
involved is somehow covered.