Former NBA star Charles Oakley has joined forces with the Entain Foundation US, the charitable arm of the Entain Group, the parent company of partypoker. Oakley’s “Oak Cut Hunger“ initiative will get funding from Entain’s not-for-profit arm to include responsible gambling education as part of Oakley’s program.
Oakley had a storied career as a power forward in the NBA, joining the Chicago Bulls in 1985 at the dawn of the legendary Michael Jordan years. He went on to spend 3 seasons with the Jordan’s Bulls at the start of his 20-year career, and after retirement, Oakley formed the charity Oak Cut Hunger to try to give back to the community and fight food insecurity.
The focus of Oak Cut Hunger is to support impoverished communities facing hunger, economic challenges, and addiction. Now, the Entain Group is juicing up the program with additional funds and specific assistance in the area of problem gambling education.
New Campaign Slated to Start in 2022
The Oak Cut Hunger foundation focuses on supporting impoverished, underprivileged communities that are dealing with hunger, economic uncertainty, and/or addiction challenges. “It’s all about giving back to people who are trying to get through life,” said Oakley.
“I go all over. And 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. Give them a chance and a good meal. Meet some different people and have a good time.”
One of the addictions that Oakley often sees involves problem gambling, with people spending money they can’t really afford on the lure of an easy win. Martin Lycka, Entain’s Senior VP for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling, and trustee of the Entain Foundation US, sees that as the ideal place for Entain to add value to Oak Cut Hunger.
“As sports betting takes off across many US states, we’re committed to doing all we can to ensure that people only bet what they can afford — which is especially important in more deprived communities. The Oak Out Hunger campaign is truly unique and effective in providing essential services to impoverished and underprivileged urban communities across the US. The Oakley Foundation is an ideal partner to help us reach those in most need with education on responsible gambling.”
The new campaign is set to kick-off in early 2022, timed to be in place for major sporting events in the US such as the Super Bowl and March Madness. It will be a US-wide initiative that stops in cities like LA, New York, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and New Orleans plus universities in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania among others.
The new partnership looks to be a great fit. Oakley’s charitable foundation provides a support network that is already in place, while Entain adds some much-needed support for gambling addictions to a program aimed at more general help for the underprivileged.