Illinois Bill Expands Casino Hiring Pool To Include People With Felony Convictions

Written By C.J. Pierre on May 30, 2023 - Last Updated on May 31, 2023
Casino Drink

During a final flurry of passing bills, the Illinois Legislature passed a measure that expands the hiring pool for Illinois casinos. This news is especially significant as as several new casinos are coming to The Prairie State.

Both the state Senate and state House have passed Senate Bill 1462. The bill widens the state’s potential labor pool of hospitality industry employees to include those with felony convictions.

Some may view this as a controversial decision by legislators. However, this will increase the pool of potential hospitality industry employees.

Bill allows prospective casino employees with felonies to work non-gaming positions

The Illinois House of Representatives agreed to pass SB 1462 last week. It was a busy week for the state legislature ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend.

The bill passed through the Senate in March by a vote of 44-12. The measure includes an amendment that would make prospective employees with a felony conviction eligible to receive an occupational license from the Illinois Gaming Board for non-gaming positions at casinos.

Moreover, the amendment gives the IGB discretion to review each potential licensee. The board can refuse an occupational license to any person with a background that threatens the state’s public interests or the security and integrity of gaming. IGB will have to consider the length of time since conviction, the number of convictions and the severity of the charges, among other factors, during the review.

The measure passed out of the House Gaming Committee by a 13-3 vote after it was noted that labor unions and the IGB were in favor of the bill. After little debate on the floor, the concurrence vote broke 78-27 in favor of passage. State Senator Robert Peters, D-Chicago, originally introduced the bill. Peters says the bill will open doors to good jobs. The measure now heads to Governor JB Pritzker’s desk for a signature. No word yet on if he intends to sign the bill into law.

Another amendment to the Sports Wagering Act stalls

We’ve been following a series of online IL sports betting bills making their way through the state Legislature. One of them was Senate Bill 0323.

Under the Sports Wagering Act (SWA), signed into law by Gov. Pritzker in 2019, applicants owed a non-refundable license and application fee of $150,000 dedicated to the IGB. Currently, these initial licenses last for four years before the license holder would have to pay another $150,000 annually to maintain them.

SB 0323 would decrease the renewal amount to $50,000, while the licenses would still last four years. State Sen. Cristina Castro said the bill addressed a drafting error in the SWA.

The bill ended up passing in the Senate but stalled in the House Rules Committee. This appears to be a bill that fell through the cracks and dropped down on the lawmakers’ priority list. However, there is still a chance a similar bill could come back up during next year’s legislative session.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at Play Illinois. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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