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Can You Work At A Casino With A Felony?

With their intense, stimulus-filled environments, working at a casino can be an exciting opportunity for those interested in the gaming industry. However, for individuals with a criminal record, particularly a felony, this opportunity may seem out of reach. With the history and associations many people make between casinos and organized crime, the operators of modern casinos want to avoid any false implications that could arise from hiring floor employees with a checkered past while still obeying fair hiring practices.

So, do casinos hire felons? The answer will vary depending on the type of conviction, the state’s laws where the casino is located, and the responsibilities of the position you seek. In short, it isn’t a safe bet, but we’ll help you figure out your options.

What To Expect If You Are A Felon

Casinos highly value honesty and integrity like many organizations that handle large amounts of cash. Even if an individual with a felony conviction is technically eligible for employment, they may find it challenging to secure a job, particularly in positions that handle cash.

Some states have programs allowing individuals with criminal records to have their records expunged or sealed after a certain amount of time. Expungement is the process of erasing a criminal conviction from someone’s record, while sealing means the record remains but is no longer available to the public, including background checks.

If these methods aren’t an option, ineligible casino floor workers could consider working in hospitality or security instead if they have a corresponding work history. In addition, the restrictions on these positions will be lighter for those with a criminal history.

Gaming License For A Felon

The U.S. government has established the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to regulate gaming operations and ensure they comply with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The IGRA prohibits workers convicted of felonies involving dishonesty or breach of trust from being employed in a gaming operation. These rules will cover the majority of the casinos in most states.

Acquiring a gaming license will be significantly more difficult if you have a felony conviction on your record. Gaming license background checks go far beyond what you would usually expect for a comparable job, all because of the large amounts of money around you. You should expect to be denied a license if your felony conviction relates to fraud, counterfeiting, or other financial crimes. In addition, a violent criminal past disqualifies you from working in the high-tension atmosphere of a casino floor. The nature of your offense matters more than whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

What States Can A Felon Work In A Casino?

In Nevada, which has the highest concentration of casinos in the United States, anyone seeking employment in the gaming industry must undergo a thorough background investigation. In addition, Nevada has a law that prohibits individuals convicted of certain crimes from obtaining a gaming license or working in a casino in any capacity.

At the time of this article being written, New York is debating passing a bill that would allow felons to work in casinos, as they are currently banned from doing so, just like Nevada. Meanwhile, in Washington, felonies older than ten years might not be considered when applying for a gaming license. 

Each state has a different definition of what crimes count as a misdemeanor or a felony. The answer to which states might allow you to work in the gaming industry will depend very heavily on the type of conviction you bear.


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