Saipan Rotary Club’s signature fundraiser was an unequivocal success with more than 1,000 community members showing up and cramming its Las Vegas Night event held last Saturday at Saipan World Resort’s Royal Taga Hall.
Rotary Club president Pete Schilling and vice president Laila Boyer expressed their surprise and amazement on the overwhelming support they received, claiming that this year’s crowd as well as the ticket sales were among the biggest recorded in the history of the annual event.
Las Vegas Night, which aims to raise funds for the organization’s various community projects, featured tables crowded with players eager to lay bets on Texas Hold’em, black jack, roulette, bingo, and craps.
Shilling and Boyer disclosed that due to the continuous success of the traditional one-night casino for a good cause, they are planning to hold future events in a larger space and may expand gaming tables to accommodate more players.
This year, Las Vegas Night featured nine black jack tables, six tables for Texas Hold’em, two for roulette, one for craps, and some tables for bingo games.
Saturday night’s proceeds will be used in building the children’s community park in Kagman, which the club hopes to start before the year ends.
Although total tickets sales have yet been finalized as of Saturday night, both Boyer and Shilling believe that the club sold more tickets this year than previous events.
“We didn’t expect to see this many people. When you think about the state of the economy locally, it’s just amazing that so many people bought tickets to donate to the Rotary Club and so many people turned out for the event. It’s just amazing,” Shilling told reporters after the event which ended exactly 12 midnight.
Shilling expressed his gratitude to the leadership of vice president Boyer for all her efforts and hard work she put in to the successful event. He also recognized the valuable assistance of club members whom, he said, 75 percent were on attendance last Saturday.
A special thanks were also sent out by the president to the departments of Public Lands and Community and Cultural Affairs for allowing the group to sell tickets during Thursday’s Street Market as well as the Joeten Super Store for the same help.
Besides club members, Shilling said there were 15 non-Rotarian volunteers who assisted them by serving as dealers of the game.
Boyer, who will be next year’s club president, vowed to hold the annual event with additional fun and festivity by injecting a theme on the annual Las Vegas Night.
This year’s theme-“Stars and Stripes”-was the first initiated by the club and was conceptualized in celebration of the Commonwealth Liberation during the month.
A costume competition was held Saturday night and Rosalinda San Agustin was adjudged winner for her shimmering dress made of cigarette foils, which she perfectly matched with her colorful hat, bag, and shoe especially made for the occasion.
According to Boyer, the club is also considering to hold a Texas Hold’em tournament within the year to raise additional funds for the club’s other projects.
Saturday’s event also gave away exciting door prizes and was highlighted by the raffle draw cash prizes.
Winning the grand prize of either $10,000 cash or a brand new 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS was Ariel Capati with his winning ticket No. 3069. Capati was not present during the draw and could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Romana Emmeti, with ticket No. 4157, won second place with $3,000 cash prize, while Reynaldo Pulido, with ticket No. 3021, bagged the $2,000 cash prize.
For the $1,000 cash prize, the winning ticket was No. 7693 and it belonged to Mike Cruz, while Leonora Bengco, with ticket No. 2236, won the $500 cash prize.
By Moneth Deposa