How eco-friendly is your casino?
Climate change is the most important issue of the 21st century. Since JackpotCity is an online casino, this article will look at how an online casino compares to a land-based casino in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll try to answer the question: is it more eco-friendly to play online casino games?
Climate change and crazy weather
In 2020, it seems we may have already seen the first negative effects of climate change, with super storms, devastating floods and drought. The crazy weather patterns we’ve been experiencing in New Zealand and overseas are probably caused by human activities. Wellingtonians may joke that global warming has done wonders for the city’s climate, but deep down we know it’s not a good thing. So, what can we do about it?
Since it’s very difficult to find accurate scientific information on greenhouse gas emissions specifically focused on land-based and online casinos, please bear in mind that this is not a scientific opinion, just our own thoughts on the subject. For more detailed information and scientific data about climate change in NZ, we recommend reading the information on the MFE website.
So many of our daily activities are damaging to the environment. For example, we produce greenhouse gas emissions from burning petrol or diesel when we drive, burning gas to heat our homes or using coal and oil. The carbon footprint of each person is different depending on where they live and all their personal habits and choices. As New Zealanders we are lucky to have many sources of renewable energy – over 60% from hydroelectric and geothermal sources – but that doesn’t allow us to be complacent.
Sectors that produce the most greenhouse gases
Regional factors affect our greenhouse gas emissions: in the United States agriculture is low on the list of producers, comprising less than 10% of the country’s emissions; in New Zealand, the situation is different. The Beehive website explains that in 2018, New Zealand’s “agriculture and energy sectors were the two largest contributors (…) at 48 percent and 41 percent, respectively. Increases in emissions from dairy cattle and road transport remain the largest contributors”. So, for New Zealanders we need to focus on reducing emissions from agriculture and transport first. If you’re using an online casino, then you have already reduced your transport emissions related to casino games.
How to reduce emissions from agriculture and transportation?
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, the government and farmers will need to do the most work. But as a consumer, we can avoid eating red meat. Eating red meat uses substantially more water and produces more greenhouse gases than eating chicken, fruit, vegetables and cereals. Thirty percent of the world’s land is used for raising livestock and this is a leading cause of deforestation, which in turn increases global warming. Then there’s all that methane and water pollution… If you visit a land-based casino, choose a vegetarian or chicken dish and check that food and beverages are sourced locally.
Transport is the second biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. If you play online casino games you don’t need any form of transport to do so, but if you visit a land-based casino you need to travel there, often by car or plane. If you have to drive, an electric car is a good choice in NZ because of our abundant supply of hydroelectric and geothermal energy (clean energy). The bad news is that if you’re serious about reducing your carbon footprint, flying to Vegas is off the cards. Although, right now that’s probably not an option anyway!
Energy-hungry services in land-based casinos
Unfortunately, many of the services that make a casino holiday so fun are terrible for the environment. Bright lights, flashing machines, fountains, air con and heating systems, sound systems, surveillance systems and kitchens to serve the many restaurants and bars – these things all consume a large amount of electricity. Some land-based casinos employ huge teams of staff and many of these employees will drive to work. Many casino guests will arrive by car or plane too, some on long-haul flights. Then, there’s the transport of food and beverages and other casino supplies, etc. If the casino has a hotel, then they will wash thousands of sheets, pillowcases and towels each day. All of these things consume electricity.
MGM resorts (owner of the Bellagio Las Vegas) has started a comprehensive environmental responsibility programme for its resorts in America. This includes the greening of buildings, for example the installation of a new underwater LED system in the legendary Bellagio fountain. This step has reduced the fountain’s energy consumption by 75%. In NZ, the Sky Tower, home of the SkyCity casino has also replaced the tower’s lighting with an LED system. These are all steps in the right direction, but this type of casino remains very energy-hungry overall.
In an online casino, the most energy is used to power its IT infrastructure, principally the server hall and climate control systems. If the online casino’s staff work in an office space, then you can add transportation emissions produced by staff driving to work and all the energy requirements of a small office. Nonetheless, it would be impossible for an online casino to come close to consuming as much electricity as a land-based casino.
The most energy-efficient form for a casino is an online casino run by a handful of people working from home. This ideal casino would have servers and cooling systems powered by renewable energy.
Electricity consumed by datacentres
Running an online casino requires the use of datacentres, which consume large quantities of electricity, albeit small in comparison to a large resort. While datacentre electricity use remains approximately 1% of energy consumption worldwide, it’s still worth keeping in mind. Depending on where a casino’s datacentre is located, it could be powered by fossil fuels. In Australia for example, most of their electricity is produced by coal.
If you’re interested in ways to reduce your own digital energy consumption, we recommend reading the article by George Kamiya on iea.org. The article focuses on digital media streaming services but has some interesting tips for everyone. In terms of things like Netflix streaming services, consumers can lower their energy use “by streaming at lower resolutions, using smaller devices and screens, and connecting through Wi-Fi instead of mobile networks. Replacing devices less often can also help”. These are simple, easy-to-implement steps for reducing our carbon footprint further when we play online casino in New Zealand. So, taking all these things into account, we think that playing online casino games is the eco-friendly choice.