• August 28, 2014

Casino night raises funds for scholarships

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Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 1:00 am

The Greater Killeen Young Professionals is offering residents a chance to score big and help college students tonight at Rock the Foundation Casino Night.

The group hopes to draw more than 300 attendees at tonight’s fundraiser, which features Las Vegas-style games, including blackjack, Texas hold’em, roulette, craps and slot machines.

“Ultimately, this is a fundraiser for the Friends of Texas A&M (University-Central Texas) scholarship fund,” said Jennifer Hetzel, president of the group. “This is our fifth year doing the fundraiser, and third year for it to be a casino night.”

Since its start, the event has raised about $35,000 for scholarships, which was matched by $25,000 from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation to provide students with $60,000.

The event raises money by charging $20 for $5,000 in chips. Toward the end of the night, the chips are changed into raffle tickets for door prizes.

“It is a great cause,” Hetzel said. “It is offering people who couldn’t afford school more options and opportunity.”

The casino fundraiser has been successful during the past three years, because it is something different to do in Killeen, said Jenna Weynand, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce director of strategic communications.

“Most people don’t come to it because they think they are going to get a door prize,” Weynand said. “You don’t lose money, because you are donating it. You also get to gamble, and the atmosphere is really fun. It is a really enjoyable night.”

There are more than $2,000 in door prizes available, but the atmosphere is really what attracts people, Hetzel said.

“It will be just a good social environment if you like to meet new people,” she said. “Everyone dresses up, so you can get into that mindset that you are going out for a fun night on the town.”

The young professionals also are providing a live DJ, free appetizers and a photo booth.

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