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‘Without Hawaii, there’s no Boyd’: Casino company donates $100K to wildfire relief

When the leadership at Boyd Gaming learned of the deadly wildfires on Maui last week, they felt a personal call to help with relief.

“This is not just an abstract thing we hear about in the news,” said David Strow, vice president of corporate communications for the company. “Many of our team members call this place (Hawaii) home or have family there, or they have longtime customers who are from there.”

That connection led the operators of the California hotel-casino, Fremont hotel-casino, Main Street Station and several other locals casinos to donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross last week to address relief efforts of the wildfires that killed more than 100 people, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century.

The company is also encouraging its employees to consider Hawaii foundations and other relief efforts in its current charitable giving campaign, he said.

The Cal, as it’s known, has long been a hotspot for tourists from Hawaii since the downtown property opened in 1975. Founder Sam Boyd lived on Oahu when he was younger, Strow said, and marketed the property to Hawaii travel agencies.

Today, Strow said travelers from Hawaii make up about 75 percent of the Cal’s business and two-thirds of Boyd’s downtown business, generally.

“Without Hawaii, there’s no Boyd Gaming,” he said. “If they didn’t come to the California, that property wouldn’t have succeeded and everything that came after. It’s no exaggeration to say Hawaii is our heart and soul.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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