N G I S C Chicago Meeting, May 20, 1998



CHAIRMAN JAMES: Carla Davenport.

MS. DAVENPORT: Good afternoon, Commissioners. Have you purchased your lottery ticket for tonight's biggest jackpot drawing ever? Just kidding.

Hi, my name is Carla Davenport. I reside in Valparaiso, Indiana and I'm a beverage server with the Majestic Star casino. Three years ago I was busy raising my son Curtis, attending college here in Chicago majoring in interior design and expecting my second child. My husband Larry sold cars and our income was substantial. However, with limited health benefits and no dental or vision, we made sacrifices and did without all but the essentials.

Larry worked an average of 60 hours per week or more, as business demanded. Our time together as a family was minimal but we did what we could to make the most of it and held hopes for a brighter future when my schooling was finished.

By the time Buffington Harbor casino opened, my dream of success as an interior designer had been put on hold. School projects could not survive my rambunctious one year old daughter Maggie and reluctantly I dropped out of school. I had become a full time stay at home mother whose husband's career demanded more time than he could spend with his family.

On a rare outing with my husband we visited the Buffington Harbor casino. I was enthralled, not so much with the gaming, but the atmosphere, the people. Something told me I needed to be a part of that. I decided to pursue a position working nights so I could still spend the days with my children.

Soon after I began working steadily, Larry and I decided that he should leave his position in the car business and stay home full time with Curtis and Maggie. My earnings as a beverage server had surpassed his wages and the benefits were incomparable. Through his position we were required to pay a premium of $400 per month and at Majestic Star I am provided with dental, medical and vision at a cost to us of less than $50 per month. However significant, the deciding factor was my four day work week, at almost half the hours that my husband had been putting in.

Presently Curtis, now five and Maggie three are reaping the most rewards. Picnics, walks and outings such as church with mom and dad are the norm rather than the exception. Visits to the dentist and eye doctor are now made as needed, not when we can afford it. In my life the casinos have made a tremendous impact. It has brought my family together again.

Hopes and dreams, although different from those of three years ago, are bright and shine with promise, the promise of a family. Yes, love is tough, but together our families and legal gaming can prevail.

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