The convention is set to begin in downtown Indy on Thursday with 55,000 expected guests. Wednesday morning, Gen Con President David Hoppe said they support a woman’s right to choose.
“Passage of Senate Bill 1 will have an impact on our stakeholders and attendees and will make it more difficult for us to remain committed to Indiana for our long-term home,” said Hoppe.
Hoppe added that Gen Con is deeply troubled about what’s happening in the Indiana legislature.
“We are committed here through 2026,” Hoppe said. “We do have to think about what that means beyond that and, of course, we would have to look at what that means for the period up until that time.”
In 2021, Gen Con operated at half capacity and brought in 35,000 people. Even then, the four-day gaming convention still brought in $37 million in economic activity to Indianapolis.
“We have a recovering tourism workforce that needs groups like Gen Con to continue to meet here in Indianapolis,” said Chris Gahl with Visit Indy.
He said Visit Indy’s job is to make sure the concerns of Gen Con and others are heard.
“We’re making sure that information from our customers is getting over to the Statehouse to help inform their decisions,” Gahl said.
Convention goers we talked to told us they’re happy to hear Gen Con’s pro-abortion-rights statement
”The gaming crowd is a pretty progressive group, and we all pretty much wholeheartedly support bodily autonomy,” said Diana DiMicco.
She and Justus Hughes are at Gen Con as exhibitors. They said they know other exhibitors who pulled out last minute because of Senate Bill 1.
”They’re taking that to heart and saying, ‘We’re going to be fine losing that money, but we’re not going to support that state for doing that,'” Hughes said.
Gen Con confirmed there were exhibitors that pulled out due to Senate Bill 1 but said it was not a substantial number. There are still more than 500 game publishers and vendors at the convention.
Gahl said Visit Indy has heard from other conventions that are closely watching the bill, but no conventions have told them they plan to pull out of Indy.
“At this point, no, we haven’t heard from any other convention that Senate Bill 1 is impacting their future,” Gahl said.
As to the festivities of Gen Con, it opens at 10 a.m. Thursday and runs until 6 p.m. everyday, except for Sunday. This is Gen Con’s 55th year and it’s 19th in Indianapolis.
Several events return this year, including the costume contest, and for the first time since 2019, Gen Con will also be in Lucas Oil Stadium. The convention has also expanded out onto Georgia St. for the first time with plenty of food trucks and fun.
The exhibition booths are sold out this year, and with 55,000 people expected, Gen Con will be at 75% of its best year ever in 2019 when 70,000 people attended. Convention goers are excited to see it return closer to it’s old size.
”There is an energy that shows up at Gen Con unlike any other around the world,” Hughes said. “It’s just an electricity.”
It’s important to know you will need to wear a mask and have proof of vaccination. Passes for each day are still available.