According to it’s web page, Gen Con is “the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world!” The event, started in 1968, moved in 2003 to it’s current home in Indianapolis, Indiana. The question is – will it stay there? The event is contracted until 2020, but recent political issues may have the con looking for a new home. On Monday, the Indiana House approved a new bill that would prevent state and local governments from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion unless the government can prove it has a compelling interest and is doing so in the least restrictive means. the bill was modeled after the 22-year-old federal law known as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. Some citizens are concerned this bill would open the door for discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians. Supporters believe the bill will ‘protect’ people and business owners with strong religious beliefs from government intrusion. The organizers of Gen Con have added their voice to the discussion ahead of Gov. Mike Pence signing the bill. Gen Con owner and CEO Adrian Swartout penned an open letter in regards to the bill. In the letter, he states:
“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds,” she wrote. “We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention.”
Last year, the event attracted 56, 000 attendees. In the letter,Swartout points out the an estimated annual impact of $50 MILLION. There are no plans to break the contract, but these events may impart future plans for the event. You can read the full open letter here.