The Entain Foundation U.S., the not-for-profit charitable trust of Entain, will be sponsoring the “Oak Out Hunger” community project, an initiative led by retired NBA legend Charles Oakley, the company announced on Thursday.
The Entain Foundation U.S sponsorship will provide “both funding and expertise” in preventing and mitigating problem gambling to the "Oak Out Hunger" initiative, states a press release. Education in responsible gambling will sit alongside other community services provided by the Charles Oakley Foundation, including anti-addiction and education programs.
The program is set to operate early next year in major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, New York, Buffalo, Philadelphia and New Orleans, coinciding with popular sports events including the Super Bowl and college basketball tournament March Madness.
Additionally, the campaign will visit “further cities and towns” also home to universities, including Indiana University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, West Virginia and Tennessee.
“As sports betting takes off across many U.S. states, we’re committed to doing all we can to ensure that people only bet what they can afford,” said Martin Lycka, Entain senior vice president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling, and trustee of the Entain Foundation U.S. “This is especially important in more deprived communities.”
The new sponsorship builds upon other partnerships Entain has launched to prevent and combat potentially harmful behaviors among at-risk populations. The brand and its two sister foundations, the Entain Foundation and the Entain Foundation U.S., also operate a series of programs designed to combat problem gambling, such as the free “Gamble Responsibly America” app, available through the App Store and Google Play.
The Entain Foundation U.S. was launched in 2019, by the Entain Global Foundation and the Entain Group. It is dedicated to promoting responsible gambling, sports integrity and corporate compliance in the U.S. Its trustees include former New York Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl Champion Amani Toomer, and international gambling regulatory expert Bill Pascrell III.
It also sponsors a variety of information and education programs on problem gambling for professional athletes, collegiate athletes, coaches and teams at 40 U.S colleges and universities and several associated leagues. Globally, the Entain Foundation has committed more than $100 million to responsible gambling programs over the next five years.
“The Oak Out Hunger campaign is truly unique – and effective – in providing essential services to impoverished and underprivileged urban communities across the U.S.,” added Lycka. “The Oakley Foundation is an ideal partner to help us reach those in most need with education on responsible gambling.”
“It’s all about giving back to people who are trying to get through life,” Oakley described the campaign. “You see people hanging out on the streets, nowhere to get a meal, some of whom use what little money they have to fund addictions. Our program is about helping to break that cycle and give them a chance and a good meal.”
The Charles Oakley Foundation launched the "Oak Out Hunger" campaign in 2020, and has since provided thousands of meals and other social services to impoverished families in Cleveland, Oakley’s hometown, as well as other major cities.