New Jobs in Indiana due to Gambling Legalization

Indiana legalized casino gambling in 1993, and within a few years, casinos opened in Gary. Now, the city has started to turn itself around, rebuilding its streets and replacing outmoded police cars. 29

Unlike many industries, casino gambling creates full-time, entry-level jobs, which are badly needed in communities suffering from chronic unemployment and underemployment. Dozens of casino workers testified that these economic benefits are felt in the home and not just at city hall. Calvin Chandler, who left college to care for his mother, told the Commission about his efforts to find work in Gary, Indiana, before the legalization of casino gambling:

“The infamous steel mills of Gary were slowly dying and they weren’t and haven’t been hiring many. So basically I ended up bouncing between temporary jobs such as lifeguarding for the boys and girls club and bartending at a local lounge and off and on doing some substitute work at elementary schools.” 30

When the Majestic Star Casino opened, Mr. Chandler, a single father, found work as a bartender. Now, he has the financial resources to support his young daughter and finish college. 31 Before coming to Las Vegas from California 5 years ago, Silvia Amador worked as a maid for $4.75 an hour and relied on welfare to make ends meet; today, she cleans rooms at the Las Vegas Hilton, no longer depends on welfare, and earns enough money to give her family “anything they need.” 32

Other casino workers described how a steady job and secure livelihood enables them to prepare for contingencies and plan for the future. Frances Brewin, 33 a food server at the Atlantic City Hilton, described how important her employer-paid medical benefits became after her husband was disabled and forced to take early retirement. When his medical benefits ran out, she was able to support him through a long period of illness . Olivetta Scott, a booth cashier at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, told the Commission, “I am 58 years old and in four years, I can retire if I want to. I will be a burden to no one, my family, or the government. I have my union pension and I have my social security to rely on.” 34 Rosendo and Gloria Caldera, who live in Inglewood, California, and work at the Hollywood Park Casino, were able to send their children to Boston University and the University of Southern California. According to Mr. Caldera, “We have faith that we’ll continue to have good jobs so that we can continue to send them to school. We’d like to give them the best education for their future and for that of the community.” 35

Research conducted on behalf of the Commission confirms the testimony of these casino workers and government officials that casino gambling creates jobs and reduces levels of unemployment and government assistance in communities that have legalized it. In its analysis of 100 gambling and non-gambling communities, NORC found that in communities close to newly opened casinos, “unemployment rates, welfare outlays, and unemployment insurance decline by about one-seventh.” 36

28 Earline Rogers, testimony Before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Chicago, Illinois (May 30, 1998) (Indiana State Senator). 29 Ibid. 30 Calvin Chandler, testimony before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Chicago, Illinois (May 20, 1998). 31 Ibid. 32 Silvia Amador, testimony Before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Las Vegas, Nevada (November 10, 1998) (Guest Room Attendant, Las Vegas Hilton). 33 Frances Brewin, testimony Before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Atlantic City, New Jersey (January 21, 1998) (Food Server, Atlantic City Hilton). 34 Olivetta Scott, testimony before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Las Vegas, Nevada (November 10, 1998). 35 Rosendo Caldera, Testimony Before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Del Mar, California (July 29, 1998). (Food Server, Hollywood Park Casino, Inglewood, California). 36 NORC, “Gambling Impact and Behavior Study: Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission,” (April 1, 1999), p. v.