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AG raises £2m for good causes

Local, national and international good causes benefit from the Group’s corporate philanthropy and giving back

The AG team standing on a staircase smiling

It’s a team effort - pictured left to right: Tracy Damestani, Elaine Smethurst, Krishna Hathi, Alvin Kanani, Andrew Banister, Ryan Best, Sandra Rodrigues, Carmel Fredman

Ambassadeurs Group (AG) has raised £2m for good causes in its first year. February 2023 marks the one-year anniversary since the Group officially came together with its core purpose to raise standards and give back.

Since then, the Group, which operates brands in the land and digital sectors of gaming, e-commerce, hospitality, travel, and entertainment, has organised its corporate philanthropy and community engagement in four core areas. These are: mental health and wellbeing, education, safer gambling, and our community. By organising efforts in this way, the Group has been able to make a meaningful difference, concentrate on key campaigns, but also flex and support good causes and charities on an ad-hoc basis.

The Group includes the prestigious Les Ambassadeurs Club. It is the generosity of the members in the support of AG’s key aims – spurred on by AG’s creative ideas around donating to good causes – that has enabled the impressive £2m total. ‘We are delighted that the generosity of our members has helped our corporate philanthropy,’ says Tracy Damestani, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.

‘We wanted to be able to help good causes locally, nationally and internationally. We also wanted to boost support for safer gambling, which speaks to the casino which is at the heart of the Group. And we wanted to push entrepreneurial causes, and provide support across a myriad of areas for the betterment of society which includes all aspects of health, mental physical, and so much more.’

The broader Group purpose extends to every area in which it operates. Les A – as it is affectionately known – has doubled-down on its commitment to support GambleAware and has increased the Club’s donation of its gross gambling yield (GGY) from 1% to 1.1% in 2023. This donation to research, education and treatment (RET) into the harms that can come from gambling addiction is ten times more than any other operator. An additional 0.1% of GGY will be earmarked for harm prevention and education in the e-gaming sector, where more focus is expected.

Although the Group officially came into being in February 2022, its roots lay in the dark days of the pandemic lockdown. Kevin McGowen, the CEO, and his leadership team looked beyond the locked doors of the casino. They saw an opportunity to be entrepreneurial and philanthropic as they set up new brands such as those in the area of travel, ready to take advantage of demand once lockdown ended and members started to fly back to London. At the same time, they pivoted to online gambling, offering members the same safe and personal gambling experience that they would get in person.

Since it came together the Group has expanded in other ways, most notably by signing strategic alliances. These already include one with the Playground Theatre, which combines productions with outreach projects in West London, Cool Earth, which is being promoted by the Group’s Essential travel brands and aims to help indigenous people protect the rainforests, and The Felix Project which helps provide healthy meals to the most vulnerable in society.

More of these will be announced throughout 2023: as the Group continues to develop and grow: ‘Through alliances we show we are targeting donations to make a clear difference. There is a rigorous application process to ensure alliances match our core aims and fit the criteria we have set out to the board,’ says Damestani.

Some highlights from the year since AG was set up include:

  • £500,000 raised through member contributions for safer gambling
  • sponsored a charity golf day to raise money £10,000 for The Prince’s Trust RISE, helping young people across the UK
  • hosted a charity event in partnership with the OppO Foundation to celebrate AG’s donation of five specially adapted wheelchairs to help military veterans achieve their sporting dreams
  • donating £110,000 in support of the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeals for those impacted by the Pakistan floods and war in the Ukraine

Closer to home more than one third of AG staff received earnings increases from October 2022, reflecting an increase of up to 25%.

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