Don’t insult casino workers

Children of casino employees are “prone to dropping out of school, reproducing illegitimate children, often while little more than children themselves, abusing drugs and alcohol more frequently, and even killing themselves more often than people who do value education.”

—Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas

I pondered for hours just how to respond to comments made by Nevada Assemblyman Bob Beers about casino workers and their lack of interest in education. I’ve come to realize that the issue is not who finds value in education. The real issue here is that when statements of this nature are made, there is the danger that they may sanction echoes from others who believe likewise, which gives the statement a twisted type of credibility.

Every single incident of bigotry and prejudice throughout history has been prefaced by similar assumptions. The real danger is, since Beers is an elected official, someone may believe his personal prejudices to be true. We who work in the gaming industry know that Beers is wrong, but what about those who don’t work with us? I am a 20-year veteran of the gaming industry, and I have seen the best and the worst. To make such blanket statements about us is bordering on libelous.

If we were to prosecute Beers in the Court of Public Opinion with a jury of working Nevadans, he would not be able to defend his assertions.

Beers made the statements in defense of his objections to the Governor’s Tax Initiative. If even one of the statements he made to Betty Pardo of the League of Women Voters is true, then it would be clear that the gaming industry is an unhealthy neighbor, and the industry should be encouraged to help in the correction of those issues.

I am certain that Beers has already heard from the gaming interests. I would guess they are as irritated as I am. Yet, where is their public outcry? If ever we needed someone to speak for us, it is now. I have not heard any gaming industry leaders speak in defense of their employees. Why? Because Beers represents the good-ole-boys'-status-quo-let’s-do-nothing-and-hope-it-goes-away-along-with-the-tax-initiative.

The gaming industry employs a fair number of uneducated employees, as do other industries. The truth may be that we gaming employees do use state, county and city resources more often than other residents. I don’t have the statistics to know for certain, but I do know it is wrong to make assumptions that vilify an entire socio-economic group.

My co-workers and I value education, even though we are casino workers. I am also aware that thousands of employees who labor in this industry also value education.

I hope that through this experience, Beers comes to realize that he can’t assume to know the values of others simply by what they do for a living.

I hope Beers has learned that it is wiser to conceal his wisdom than to reveal his ignorance. His comments certainly showed him to be devoid of human understanding, compassion and respect for the Nevadans he has sworn to represent.