Gaming veteran brings experience and a unique perspective to sportsbook operator.
“When companies are doing well, they have a responsibility to also do good,” Chrissy Menicucci Benna says, reflecting on her career and the journey that led her to CG Technology Sportsbooks.
Menicucci Benna, a veteran leader in Nevada’s gaming, philanthropy, and legal circles, joined the acclaimed sports book operator as Chief Social Responsibility Officer in April 2019. Her role, as she describes it, is intended to help CG “make meaningful contributions to the gaming industry” and the company’s family of employees.
“I feel like I get to represent the best of people and the best of our industry,” she explains. “Every day I see examples of how a business that’s unique to Nevada can contribute to the community and make people’s lives better.”
While representing CG Menicucci Benna’s newest responsibility, she is no stranger to the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Having served for nearly two decades at gaming manufacturer IGT, assuming worldwide responsibility for the organization’s CSR initiatives, Menicucci Benna is recognized as a leader and subject matter expert whose background – she has served in the Nevada Attorney General’s office and as Director of Development for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges – has helped her forge key relationships with gaming companies and the oversight agencies tasked with enforcing state laws and responsible gaming initiatives.
“It’s the heart of the company,” she says of Corporate Social Responsibility. “It’s on us to create engagement with employees, with senior leadership, gaming industry, customers, and the community.”
At CG, Menicucci Benna hit the ground running, immediately crafting a vision statement for the company’s CSR guidelines and incorporating new training and engagement tactics into its hiring and development programs.
“It’s really become part of the recruiting process,” she says. “Having a CSR commitment allows us to expand what we’re able to offer someone when they consider joining CG Technology Sportsbooks.
“I’ve seen how CSR can engage employees to the point where they feel like they are making a difference in the company and their community, because they’re now actively involved in both.”
On the heels of her most recent endeavor – representing CG at the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference sponsored by the MGM Resorts Foundation – Menicucci Benna discussed, among other topics, her vision for CSR in the gaming, the challenges of the industry, and how she defines success.
How do you define Corporate Social Responsibility?
“A lot of it is about being present. It’s about listening to employees, observing the industry trends, learning from your peers, and understanding oversight policies. Working in the industry, we have a very positive view of gaming and how it is a form of entertainment. Fortunately, because Nevada is so far ahead of the curve, we don’t have to look far beyond our backyard to see people and programs that prove CSR works.”
Why did you want to take this role?
“These types of CSR positions are still unique to any industry. When an opportunity came along to take the experience that I’d gained through my previous role in connecting companies and their employees to their community and industry, I jumped at the chance. The fact that CG Technology Sportsbooks is a gaming brand, and I’m able to draw upon all of my experience, is a bonus.”
Why is it so important for an organization to embrace CSR?
“We are trying to build a culture of engagement and understanding, not just amongst the employees, but also outside in the community. If we’re successful, our employees will be more satisfied and happier in their roles. Additionally, we must be proactive and address the issue of responsible gaming and problem gambling, and that is the unique part of having a CSRO position within a gaming company.”
What are the challenges you see in your role?
“The largest challenge is creating awareness of CSR because every organization, in every industry, has a different idea and approach. In the gaming industry, the responsible gaming and problem gambling element is very unique, and part of how we support that effort is by having CG involved at multiple levels. Not only are we attending national conferences and learning how others in the industry are approaching CSR, but we are engaging our employees on a local level, helping everyone understand what responsible gaming looks like. It’s about educating everyone from the top down and providing them with resources and tools to better connect with our customers.”
How do you define success in CSR?
“For me, internally, success is having employees understand that CSR is a resource for things that they might want to be involved with, for causes that are important to them, or for training that can improve their industry knowledge and customer service abilities. Externally, through our CSR program we will establish our commitment to offer best in class products and services to our customers and the communities in which we operate. Just being able to educate as many people as possible, and seeing how that pays off, is a sign that CSR is working.”