Governor JB Pritzker has endorsed a new law that opens up opportunities for individuals with specific felony convictions to apply for non-gaming roles within Illinois casinos, primarily within the hospitality sector.
Collaborative efforts between the Illinois Gaming Board, UNITE HERE Local 1, and the sponsors of Senate Bill 1462, Senator Robert Peters and Representative Kam Buckner, were instrumental in shaping the legislation.
Governor JB Pritzker emphasized the belief in second chances in the Land of Lincoln, asserting that this includes individuals who have previously been incarcerated or convicted of felonies. He stated that as the state shifts its justice system from incarceration to rehabilitation, avenues are being created for Illinois residents who have made errors to secure meaningful employment and forge better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Presently, Illinois law prohibits those with felony convictions from working in both gaming and non-gaming positions at casinos.
Senate Bill 1462, however, eliminates the automatic disqualification for non-gaming roles and permits the Illinois Gaming Board to assess specific details and contexts surrounding prior criminal convictions when making determinations for licensing applicants seeking casino occupational licenses.
The bill’s focus lies on non-gaming positions, encompassing roles such as restaurant personnel, maintenance staff, and housekeeping.
State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) acknowledged that individuals re-entering society after being affected by the justice system often face hurdles in securing worthwhile job opportunities. He emphasized that these individuals have served their sentences and deserve the chance to move forward with their lives. Peters underscored that casinos offer various non-gaming positions tied to hospitality, and enabling this marginalized community to access such well-paying union jobs would empower them to attain financial stability and contribute to the development of safe communities.
IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter praised the combined efforts of Governor Pritzker and the sponsors of Senate Bill 1462 in enacting the legislation. Fruchter highlighted the law’s significance in upholding the Illinois Gaming Board’s essential role in safeguarding the integrity of the state’s gaming industry while concurrently presenting an avenue for individuals with prior convictions to secure employment in non-gaming casino roles.