WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than a dozen casino employees helped put a face on the gaming industry today during the final day of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission’s second meeting in Washington, D.C.
Employees from Hilton/Bally’s Park Place and Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, and Grand Casino in Gulfport and Tunica, Miss., made the trip to Washington to ensure that their positive stories were heard and that the industry that employs them was defended.
“A very important thing came of today’s meeting,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “For the first time, the Commissioners and the public were able to see behind the statistics and witness first-hand the real people and the real jobs the gaming industry represents.”
The last two hours of today’s Commission meeting were designated to public testimony. Approximately 50 individuals, with three minutes a piece, were able to share their opinions and experiences about the gaming industry and make personal plights to the Commission as to how they should conduct their study over the next two years. Many employees invited the Commissioners to come to their home towns of Atlantic City and the Mississippi Gulf Coast to see for themselves the positive impact gaming has had.
“These employees came a long way today, and I am quite happy they were able to hear the Commission agree on the need to visit Atlantic City and possibly Mississippi to study the effects of gaming in their communities,” said Fahrenkopf. “The sites they visit are going to be a very important part of their study process.”
After it was discovered that Las Vegas was not initially on the proposed first-year workplan, the Commission discussed the likelihood of visiting Nevada sometime over the next two years.
“The examination of gaming in the United States without including Las Vegas would make for an incomplete study,” said Fahrenkopf. “We are pleased that the Commissioners in today’s meeting agreed on the significance of including it in their plan.”
With the exception of Atlantic City, the agenda’s location sites have not been finalized, however.
The following are excerpts from the testimony of casino employees who testified at today’s meeting:
Harrah’s Atlantic City: Cyril Cornelius, Guest Safety Officer: “My career at Harrah’s has been rewarding … thanks to my job at Harrah’s, I now earn more money than I ever made in my life and I’ve been able to purchase a home, a new car and to care for my family. I even learned valuable people skills that I lacked prior to attending Harrah’s training courses.”
Hilton/Bally’s Park Place: Hilda Roman, Personnel Department: “I have gained alot of experience that I would not have today had I not taken the chance [to take a job at Bally’s] 14 years ago. I now own my own home and am a single parent of three children. I will always be grateful to Bally’s for what they have done for me. … You can see from my story that the casino industry has done alot for my family. It has given us the opportunity to better our lives and for us, in particular, the opportunity to work together. Eleven (11) members of the Roman family work at Bally’s and the AC Hilton.”
Grand Casino Gulfport Cheryl Lowell, Human Resources Manager: “The gaming industry has opened up career opportunities for me that would not have been realized otherwise. … I have had the opportunity of seeing lives transformed as a result of this industry. Individuals who were on welfare or underemployed were able to reach self sufficiency. Several of our associates have taken advantage of our GED Program, literacy program or our tuition reimbursement program … [which] have made it possible for them to receive promotions or enhanced their self-esteem.”