Could this years best four days in gaming be Indy's last four days in gaming?
We hope not
This afternoon, Gen Con LLC posted an open letter to Mike Pence, the current Governor of Indiana. For those of you not in Indiana, Governor Pence has recently said that he will sign SB101, locally know as the 'Right to Discriminate Bill.' Opponents of the bill say it would license discrimination, particularly against the LGBTQIA community.
Gen Con is one of the biggest conventions in the world, and has helped boost our local economy. In some of my previous articles, I've mentioned that Gen Con has increased it's attendance consistently by 10%-15% each year, over the last few years. The wording in the letters final paragraph is not too subtle, "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." Gen Con has been in Indianapolis since 2003 and has signed an extension with the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) through 2020.
You can read their letter in it's entirety here.
Visit Indy, the official tourist site of Indianapolis, and many other local businesses have also come out against SB101. Indy PopCon, a locally owned and operated convention that had 10,000 attendees over 3 days last year, has also spoken out against SB101, saying, "Indy PopCon champions all forms of diversity in our community, and any legislation that opens the door for discrimination should not be tolerated in Indiana."
While 19 other states have a similar law, it is the freshness of the issue in such a progressive time during US history that really stings. A Facebook friend of mine, Raleigh Barrett, said what I believe to be true, "When word gets around who is using this legislation to actually discriminate against the LGBTQIA community, the poor, and other marginalized demographics, these people and their businesses will fail hilariously fast and I will not pity their having to rely on the very government services their politics generally say shouldn't be offered."
Your move, Mike.