NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
N G I S C Chicago Meeting, May 20, 1998
MR. JAMES O'DELL
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Mr. James O'Dell.
MR. O'DELL: Good afternoon. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come before the Gaming Commission to express my views of the gaming industry's impact on my life, my community and that of my friends.
My name is Jim O'Dell. I'm a table game supervisor for Harrah's Joliet. My experience in gaming before I worked for a casino was none. In four years I have advanced from a dealer to a floor supervisor. I have also become a trainer for new employees. The educational and technical training I have received through Harrah's has enabled me to be prepared for these advancements.
The continual educational classes that I receive in management training, sexual harassment training, time management and enhancing people skills have all helped me advance in my job and my personal growth. I live in a small town and the training I've received in valuing cultural diversity and people interaction skills have helped me to become a better neighbor and a community citizen.
The gaming industry has made quite an impact on my life financially. The compensation I receive has given me the opportunity to impact my community buying power. Through my employment at Harrah's I have bought a new car and am in the process of buying a home. I give more to charities than I ever did before and I also donate to Illinois State University and Harrah's matches that donation.
I consider the people I work with at Harrah's to be my friends, my second family. Through Harrah's 1,400 of us have been given the opportunity for economic growth, to give back to our communities. They have taken people with little to no job experience, people looking to advance their career opportunities, as well as people who were laid off from the jobs they had held many years before and trained them in an industry that has more advancement possibilities than many other industries.
The economic impact of our spending power has affected our local area and has had a ripple effect that goes well beyond the immediate area to communities 20, 50 and 100 miles away throughout the entire state of Illinois. Through Harrah's I have become more involved with my community by volunteering to serve on committees and work at charity events. Harrah's encourages community involvement, to give back, to make a difference. Through Harrah's emergency assistance relief trust program or HEART, employees who experience a personal emergency such as a natural disaster are assured that assistance will be given.
These funds are raised by employees, for Harrah's employees. I know of no other company that goes to so much length to be assured that their employees are taken care of. As a table game supervisor, the people I meet at the casino come with entertainment on their minds, a night out, an afternoon away, a few hours of fun. We provide that window of escape, that fun and excitement.
I am proud to work in the gaming industry and at Harrah's Joliet casino. I thank you for the opportunity to tell you about the impact the industry and Harrah's has made on my life. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.