Senate Bill Allowing Ex-Convicts to Seek Jobs at Illinois Casinos Heads to Governor’s Office

Illinois lawmakers have, for the second time, agreed to introduce a law that would allow ex-convicts to find jobs at casinos. Senate Bill 1462 was supported by 78 lawmakers in the Illinois House, with 27 refusing to support the bill. Previously, 44 lawmakers passed the bill in the Senate, with 12 against the bill.

Now, this bill has gone to the governor’s office, awaiting his signature. Governor J.B. Pritzker is yet to comment on the bill.

Working in a casino is not the most attractive opportunity. This is evidenced by the fact that most casinos struggle to fill their job positions. For instance, several gambling properties in New York recently complained about not getting employees.

Meanwhile, the casino industry is expanding in Illinois. This means there will be more job opportunities with fewer people interested in applying for them.

For instance, Bally’s has announced 700 jobs in the Medinah Temple casino in Chicago. The gambling operator is spending $250 million to expand the Illinois casino into a resort complex before the end of 2026.

Penn Entertainment will soon have more job opportunities too. The gambling operator has dedicated $500 million to transfer its two riverboat casinos onto land. Penn already has the green light to continue with the construction and plans to start construction in 2024.

Will Hiring Ex-Cons Affect the Integrity of Gaming?

Casino clients might not like Senate Bill 1462. But, the Illinois Gaming Board will be responsible for maintaining several standards and provisions.

The bill has some texts illustrating how the gaming board will control the situation to ensure game integrity. For instance, the board may refuse someone from working at a casino if their background shows they are a threat to the public, security, or the integrity of the game.

The Illinois Gaming Board will also determine who works at the casino on a case-to-case basis. The bill awaiting the governor’s signature has texts showing how the gaming board will consider criminal convictions before someone can work at casinos.

According to Senator Robert Peters, senate bill 1462 seeks to increase the labor pool for the Illinois casinos. He also said that the bill will allow people that need good jobs to get them.

New York Introduced a Similar Bill

Illinois is not the first state to introduce a bill allowing ex-convicts to seek employment at casinos. Last year, New York sent a similar bill to Governor Kathy Hochul.

Some oppose the bill saying it was wrong to introduce such legislation. For instance, Gerald Kassar, the chairperson for the Conservative Party in New York, described the bill as an example of a liberal policy in an unwanted sector.

Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker may not have made a public comment about Bill 1462. However, he has supported convict rehabilitation during his time in the office. He has even passed several justice reform bills that focus on rehabilitation.

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