NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. SHTAB: Ira Shtab.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Shtab. Thank you.
MR. SHTAB: How are you tonight?
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Just fine.
MR. SHTAB: Well, thank you for hearing me.
Before moving to Atlantic City area --
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Ira, I'm going to have to ask you to get closer so the people in the back can hear you.
MR. SHTAB: Sure. How's this? A little better?
CHAIRMAN JAMES: That's much better. Thank you.
MR. SHTAB: Okay. Before moving to Atlantic City area --
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Ira, I want to make sure that the people in the back have the opportunity to hear you, and I'm going to ask that if you want to engage in conversation to please go out in the hallway to do that because it's difficult, I'm told, for some of the people in the back to hear what's going on.
Could you start the time over again for Ira?
MR. SHTAB: Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: You're welcome.
MR. SHTAB: Appreciate it.
Before moving to Atlantic City --
COMMISSIONER MOORE: Sit up and speak into your mike.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Come on.
MR. SHTAB: Before moving to Atlantic City, I lived in North Jersey. I worked for a company for 15 years. Although the pay was very well, the benefits weren't there. I had no coverage, no Blue Cross/Blue Shield, pension, or any of the above.
I had a newborn child that passed away at three days old, which left me many thousands and thousands of dollars in hospital bills, which I paid through gradually and got ahead.
I then decided to move to Atlantic City and see what it was like. Although I still didn't work for the casinos at this point yet, I still hesitated, like, you know, I wasn't quite sure.
I then went to an interview for a job, got a job at the Sands Hotel, which is a struggling casino; got a job over there. I doubled my salary. I have a good job. I have good benefits.
Having this job allows me to spend time with my children, and it allows me to be at home more. I have a wife that also works in the casino industry. She's a dealer. She also has a lot of amenities, a 401(k) plan, good benefits, which allow us to save money for our kids' future, college, and so forth.
And although I'm still working for the American dream, I don't own a home yet. I am a renter, but I am working towards that. Hopefully in six months we're going to have that new home.
I think by taxing gambling or regulating it more, it would only mean more loss of jobs, and speaking from my own personal experience from my own hotel where I work, which is very difficult.
Working through this collective bargaining agreement, we have -- I thank God. My wife is sick again. I thank God although now I have good benefits, I don't have to worry this time around with thousands of dollars of bills again; that this time it will be paid, you know.
And I talk about bettering myself. It was all like, I mean, like other people. I want to reeducate myself and go back to school. I thank God through a collective bargaining agreement through the union that we now have I guess you would call it grants or loans through the state, you know, through the union that was worked out. I'm able to go back to school to get a degree in culinary arts, which will increase my earning potential.
And that's basically all I want to say. I don't need to take up the whole three minutes.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: But you have.
MR. SHTAB: Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you, Ira.