NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CLINTON VAN BERRY
MR. VAN BERRY: Good afternoon. My name is Clinton Van Berry, and unfortunately Mr. Boone could not come today.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Okay.
MR. VAN BERRY: So I have been asked to speak in his place.
I represent Harrah's of Atlantic City, and on behalf of myself and my fellow colleagues, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak.
Being the son of parents that worked in the State and Agricultural Department, I'm proud to be able to return to my home town of Washington, D.C., to voice my views on how the gaming industry has profoundly impacted my life.
I cherish my early years here in Washington and was fortunate enough to have built a successful retail store which afforded my family a comfortable life style. However, with the construction of the Metro transit system, my store's viability was quickly in jeopardy as walk-by traffic virtually disappeared.
This, coupled with the fact that affordable family housing in the District of Columbia region was out of reach, caused me to leave my former home for a new life along this Southern New Jersey shore. Unfortunately, while my new home was ideal for raising a family, quality careers were scarce, and I found myself working four part-time jobs to simply make ends meet.
Fortunately, a new industry, casino gaming, was arising just a few miles away. I was immediately hired by this fledgling industry, and since that day I have been able to provide for myself and my family, which would not have been possible without the opportunity that casino employment presented.
Today the residents of small towns like mine surrounding Atlantic City have reaped the benefits of the competitive job environment that casinos have created. In my time in the Atlantic City region, I have seen wages increase, non-casino jobs emerge, quality housing be created, and good people move from welfare to work.
I can attest to the improvement in our communities since, in addition to serving as a gaming employee, I also serve as Chief Financial Officer for my municipality and have seen first hand the increased investment and improvements in the quality of life that is a direct result of positive influence of casino gaming.
On a personal level I feel that I am an excellent example of the positive impact casinos can have not only on communities, but individuals. Thanks to my salary as a casino game supervisor, I have been able to afford a nice home, a second home here in Washington where I grew up, a new car, and best of all, to send my oldest daughter to Tufts University where she recently graduated.
In fact, my wife and I were even able to qualify to adopt our beautiful daughter in 1983, thanks in part to the financial stability that my casino career has brought me.
My story may not be the most glamorous example of the positive impact of casinos. In fact, it's just one of thousands of success stories from my company, Harrah's, alone.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Well, thank you for coming and sharing that story, and I'm going to ask you to submit the rest of that for the record.