Indiana could lose lucrative gaming convention due to discrimination bill

By : Staff Report
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Some things are certain: winter is coming, the Force awakens, the X-Files have been reopened. The location of Gen Con? Not so much.

Adrian Swartout, the convention’s CEO, has warned that she’ll move the event out of Indiana if governor Mike Pence signs SB 101, a bill that would permit discrimination against the LGBT community, with the legal reasoning being religious freedom.

“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds,” said Swartout this week in a letter to Pence. “Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy and will factor into our decision making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years.”

SB 101 has already been approved by the state’s House and Senate and only awaits Pence’s signature. He has indicated that he intends to sign it.

The bill’s passage would result in a grand financial loss for Indiana being that, according to Swartout’s letter, Gen Con has brought $50 million to the state. There were 56,000 attendees last year, and it’s reportedly the largest convention in the United States.

Many have come out against the bill, including the Indianapolis travel bureau and Star Trek actor George Takei.

“Such laws harken back to a time where our society was divided, and people of color were banned from white establishments,” wrote Takei on his Facebook page. “This is not our nation any longer, and those are not our values.”

Many other states, including Florida, either have or are attempting to pass similar laws.

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