Illinois casinos can now hire convicted felons for nongaming positions, thanks to Governor JB Pritzker (D) who signed a bill into law, lifting the state’s prohibition on working of convicted felons inside commercial gaming properties. Earlier this week, Governor Pritzker signed the Senate Bill 1462 (SB 1462), which allowed the government to amend the Illinois Gambling Act. The amendment paved the way for individuals with felony convictions to apply for non-gaming jobs at licensed commercial casinos in the state. The bill in question was authored by Senator Robert Peters and Rep. Kam Buckner, both of whom are Democrats from Chicago. Unite Here Local 1, one of the leading hospitality & gaming unions, in the state also supported the measure.
Here, it is very important to note that the new law allows only certain convicted felons to work inside casinos at non-gaming positions, but not at gaming positions. The new law states that the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) can qualify felons for certain casino positions, such as housekeepers, waitstaff, cooks, chefs, bartenders, porters, bellmen, and dishwashers. Any person with a felony conviction remains prohibited from applying for a gaming position at commercial casinos, such as slot attendants and table game dealers.
Anyhow, casinos in Illinois now have a larger pool of workers to hire from in the hospitality sector. The signing of the bill is also expected to prove very beneficial for individuals with felony convictions as they will be able to find jobs at Integrated resorts (IR), which offer a large number of non-gaming positions.
In a press release, Pritzker said, that all people, including those who have been convicted of a felony, deserve a second chance.
Speaking on the topic, Pritzker said, “As we transform our justice system away from incarceration and towards rehabilitation, we are creating opportunities for Illinoisans who’ve made mistakes to secure gainful employment and build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Before Pritzker signed SB 1462, individuals with criminal felony offenses were disqualified by the IGB. Even after signing of the bill, the IGB has a several-point criteria, including assessing the length of time since the felony conviction occurred, the individual’s number of convictions, the nature & severity of the crime, its relation to the safety of others, and any evidence of rehabilitation efforts, to qualify the individual for a non-gaming position at a commercial casino in the state.