Gaming Execs Go Bald For a Cause

More than 15 senior executives from gaming’s largest operators and suppliers are shaving their heads this month to help to battle childhood cancer. Take some time to read about their commitment to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and donate to this very worthy cause. Dan Ingster (l.) explains how it came together.

Is there nothing more heartbreaking than to get the news that a child has cancer? In addition to being heartbreaking, it’s frustrating because unless you are a medical professional there’s not much you can do. It gets even more frustrating when you consider these facts about childhood cancer.

  • More children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease;
  • Before they turn 20, about 1 in 264 children in the U.S. will have cancer;
  • There are certain types of cancer that only affect kids;
  • Less than 10 percent of funding from the National Cancer Institute goes towards research on childhood cancers;
  • Pharmaceutical companies spend very little money on childhood cancers because the drugs that they need are not profitable!

Enter the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. It started as a small event in 1999 at a New York City tavern that shaved 17 heads with the goal of raising $17,000. When they actually raised over $100,000, the possibilities became endless. The first million was raised by 2002 and a couple of years later the foundation was formed.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a donor and volunteer run charity organization that raises money to support childhood cancer research. They are the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants in the U.S. with more than $300 million in research grants issued since 2005. St. Baldrick’s raises most of their funds through their signature head shaving events in which fundraisers solicit donations in exchange for having their heads shaved.

That frustration got to Dan Ingster early. The vice president of slot operations at the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa joined the effort a decade ago and has been participating every year since.

“I have shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s each of the past 11 years and my friends and acquaintances have donated more than $130,000 over that time,” he said. “This year I worked with Mike McKiski and Landon Jones to create Team MaxBet Media and recruit an amazing group of 15 gaming industry executives from various slot machine manufacturers and casinos. This team has set their rivalries aside to go bald in support of these kids and to help find a cure.”

Steve Walther, vice president of game development at AGS, explains his motivation for joining the challenge.

“I am doing this as an opportunity to give to those in need who often have no choice for the situations that they find themselves,” he says. “If this simple act makes even the slightest difference it is worth it. For me, the hair grows back and money can be replaced, but the life of a child and the impact on their family cannot.”

Ingster says this year’s challenge is on course to be the biggest yet.

“Team MaxBet Media set what we thought would be a tough goal of $50,000 but we are on pace to blow that away with more than $47,000 already raised with 1 month to go. We are now shooting for $75,000! At this time we are the top fundraising team at our event and we have 6 team members in the top 10 of individual donations raised. We encourage supporters to donate online and to attend the head shaving event in person to watch us get shaved.”

Learn more about the team and donate at:

Another long time participant in the effort are the owners of McMullan’s Irish Pub in Las Vegas on Trop across from The Orleans. Brian and Lynn McMullan have hosted these events at their pub for the past 15 years in honor of their daughter Kyra who passed away 20 years ago from cancer. They shave hundreds of heads raising hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Last September they set an event record and hosted the top head shaving event in the country with more than $1 million raised. On Saturday, September 17th starting at 1 p.m. PST Team MaxBet Media will be shaving their heads at the St. Baldrick’s event at McMullan’s.”

Below is a list of the team members with links to their individual fundraising pages.