PokerStars’ Charity Event Benefits UK’s Homeless Population

The operator will also give the UK-based charity, BillyChip, which helps the homeless purchase basic needs, a £100,000 grant over the next two years.
PokerStars' Charity Event Benefits UK's Homeless Population
September 18, 2023

PokerStars announced that it has entered into a partnership with The BillyChip Foundation and will hold a live poker tournament this month to support the UK-based charity, which helps provide care and support for the homeless.

The operator said it would give the charity a £100,000 ($123,860 USD) grant over the next two years, thereby giving “rough sleepers” — a British term to describe homeless people who sleep without adequate shelter, usually on the streets — the opportunity to purchase basic needs.

BillyChip is a social enterprise platform providing a secure currency for the homeless. It allows individuals to buy a BillyChip from participating food and drink establishments, which can then be given to homeless people as an alternative to cash.

Homeless persons can then redeem BillyChip for food, drink, and other necessities at participating outlets.

PokerStars said BillyChip “aims to overcome some of the concerns people may have about giving to those who are homeless and offers choices to the person using the currency.”

To support the charity even further, PokerStars said it would add an event to its UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT), with a portion of the entry fees going to BillyChip.

The event will have a buy-in of £220 ($272.50 USD), is open to anyone, and will take place at the Hippodrome Casino, located in London’s Leicester Square, on Wednesday, September 20. PokerStars said £50 ($61.93 USD) from each entry would go to the charity.

“PokerStars is delighted to be supporting BillyChip for the next two years,” Sue Hammett, Group Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at PokerStars, said in a statement on September 8. “The impact this inspiring charity has on people who are homeless will always be Billy’s Legacy, and we are proud to be part of their journey.

“Our work with them will help us achieve Flutter’s goal of improving the lives of 10 million people by 2030.” Flutter Entertainment is PokerStars’ parent company.

Earlier this month, PokerStars announced that the UKIPT would return to Brighton for the first time in 12 years.

BillyChip co-founder Jon Hope added that the charity was “thrilled to partner with PokerStars and work with them to help change people’s lives.

“It’s amazing that BillyChip has caught the attention of such a large brand, and one which is committed to supporting organizations that give a helping hand to people in a variety of situations — just as we do in our work each and every day.”

The idea for creating a token that people could purchase and give to the homeless as an alternative for cash came from Billy Abernethy-Hope, a 20-year-old ambulance driver from Bristol.

“After helping support the homeless, Billy felt disheartened at how little the general public gave to local homeless people,” PokerStars said. “Although many make regular charitable donations, Billy was surprised at the small percentage of donations given directly to people living rough for fear of the money being used for drugs or alcohol.

“BillyChip offers a solution, extending compassion, connection, and choice to homeless people in the UK.”

Billy Abernethy-Hope was killed in a motorbike accident in Thailand in 2018. His sister, Meg Abernethy-Hope, and his father, Jon Hope, co-founded the charity in Billy Abernethy-Hope’s name later that year. In 2021, Meg was awarded the Diana Award for her charitable work.

Note: A rate of £1 = $1.238 USD was used for monetary conversion purposes.

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