Gen Con, described on its website as "the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world," has threatened to withdraw from the Indiana Convention Center if Gov. Mike Pence signs the controversial religious freedom bill into law, IndyStar reports.
Gen Con owner and CEO Adrian Swartout feels that the bill, which would allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples, would impact both the convention and the state economy and issued an open letter to Pence to express this. "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," she wrote.
"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 continued. "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."
The convention drew 56,000 attendees last year and is estimated to have an annual economic impact of more than $50 million. Though Gen Con has a contract with the Indiana Convention Center through 2020, spokeswoman Stacia Kirby said the bill would affect the future of their partnership. Nevertheless, Pence intends to sign the bill.