NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
N G I S C Chicago Meeting, May 20, 1998
MR NICHOLAS HUNTLEY
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Mr. Nicholas Huntley.
MR. HUNTLEY: Hello. My names is Nicholas Huntley. I thank the Commission for letting me have this time to speak to you.
I'm here to speak as someone who has benefited from the growth of the gaming industry. I'm employed by Valet Services in Chicago. I'm a member of HERE Local 1. My company is contracted to handle the parking for Trump and Majestic Star casinos in Northwest Indiana. Prior to my employment at Buffington Harbor I worked as a supervisor in a manufacturing plant.
During my last four years at the plant I attended school part time to earn my teaching degree. My wife always worked in the service industry as a waitress. She never had any benefits during those years. When the Empress in Joliet opened she applied there and she was hired. There she earned a good wage and gained insurance and benefits for our family and of course herself. At that time she worked there for a year and I realized I could go to school full time, continue my education full time and work part time. That's when I became employed in the gaming industry as well.
So through the expansion of the gaming industry I was able to pursue my goal of becoming a teacher. Now I'm a certified teacher. I teach during the day and I work at the casinos at night. Next year I'll be leaving the casinos and I'll be strictly a teacher. But over the last five years the income from the casinos was essential to our family's survival. As I see now, the people I work with, they're either supporting their families on two jobs or they're working full time and are going to school during the day. These are hard working individuals who benefit from the scheduling flexibility at the casinos. All I can ask is the people who are detached from the gaming industry may think these are low wage jobs that can easily be absorbed elsewhere in the economy but I ask that the Commission be careful and don't underestimate the value of these jobs for the people who have them. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you. Miss Susan Zingel. She would have been number ten. I will skip and put her at the end of the list, if she comes before we get there.