NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. VELASQUEZ: (This testimony is given through an interpreter.)
I'm going to be brief in my story, and I appreciate the opportunity that you have afforded me to speak in Spanish.
I am an immigrant from Chile, who has been in this country for 16 years. My family was composed of three members, my wife, myself, my daughter, who was born in New York City where we lived comfortably.
I was a construction worker for eight years and was barely able to find work in the summers and sporadic work in the wintertime.
One day, my wife invited me on a trip to Atlantic City, which changed our lives for the better. We went to the Taj Mahal, and as a joke we put in an application for employment, which was on the verge of opening. The following week, we received a phone call informing us that we had an interview the next day at 10:00 a.m.
I informed them that we were not interested and to take us off their list and we thanked them for their offer. Ten days later we received a telegram with the same proposition. They didn't seem to understand that we were not interested in working for the casinos. We felt it was too big of a risk to switch life styles at this stage of our lives.
It took some convincing on their part to get us to come down here, and we did. The rest is history. Today, I look back and I realize that it was the best decision we made. Today, we are homeowners, we live in a fine neighborhood, and my wife had twins and all the medical bills were covered by our health plan.
The twins are now four years old, and in March we will mark our eighth year in this area. I know I would never have been able to accomplish any of this in the Big Apple, everything that I have accomplished in Atlantic City.