The Animal Refuge Center, at 18011 Old Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers, will hold one of its biggest fund-raisers of the year on March 8 with its second-annual casino night at the Crowne Plaza in the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers starting at 6:30 p.m.
Last year's debut event brought in about 200 people and raised about $18,000, which is second only to the Starlight Auction in November in fundraising punch.
"It's become our second signature event. It has complemented our auction," Betty Hughes said. "Last year was extremely successful, which was how the auction started out."
Lee Allor, casino night director, said the idea got started after a political group his family supported learned they were holding a casino day to raise money.
"I thought why don't we do that and raise money wise we're doing it," Allor said. "That's where I met the organizer and told her I wanted to do it for ARC. We used it to celebrate our 25th anniversary."
Allor expects this event to remain annual.
Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. With that, you will receive $2,000 in play money, hors d'oeuvres, coffee and a raffle ticket. There will also be a cash bar.
Of course, there will also be the typical casino games such a blackjack, craps, Texas Hold 'em, roulette and much more.
Additional play money can be purchased for $10.
In addition to playing for fun, there will be a live auction with great items such as a three-night stay and golf for two at the Three Rivers Casino and Hotel in Oregon, and a photographic African safari vacation for two.
Silent auction items include: gift certificates to restaurants, building supply stores, gas stations, and beauty salons, as well as jewelry and gift baskets.
Katie Walls of WINK-TV will be the celebrity guest of the evening.
ARC also is still looking for sponsors and more items to donate for the auction and raffle.
"It's going to be a great night for ARC, and it's so much fun," Allor said. "We're the largest no-kill shelter within driving distance, and we care for thousands of animals."
The title sponsors are Bonnie Leckie Century 21 and Bay Breeze Title Services. Sponsorships of $200, $500 and $1,000 are still available.
ARC has made a big difference in changing the luck of thousands of pets in need every year. The funds from the Casino Night will help with the care of nearly 500 animals per day.
For more information, call Hughes at 841-0810 or visit the ARC website at www.animalrefugecenter.com.