A new bill passed in Illinois will help those formally incarcerated get a second chance in the workforce by expanding the hiring pool for Illinois casinos.
On Tuesday, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1462 by a 78-27 vote. The bill widens the state’s labor pool of hospitality industry employees to include those with felony convictions.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. JB Pritzker for his signature.
New bill opening doors for felons in the Illinois casino workforce
Introduced by State Senator Robert Peters, SB 1462 comes at an opportune time considering several new Illinois casinos are coming.
However, the bill does come with several checks and balances.
The bill includes an amendment that would make prospective employees with a felony conviction eligible for an occupational license from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) for non-gaming positions at casinos.
However, SB 1462 gives the IGB discretion to review each potential licensee. Furthermore, 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.
The IGB will also consider, among other things, the following factors in each review.
- Length of time since conviction
- The number of convictions
- The severity of the charges
The bill passed out of the House Gaming Committee by a 13-3 vote after receiving approval from labor unions and the gaming board.
Other gaming bills in Illinois
Memorial Day Weekend tends to be a busy time for Illinois lawmakers as the legislative session comes to a close.
In addition to the new hospitality bill, lawmakers voted to extend in-person betting on in-state college teams until July 1, 2024. Had they failed to do so, betting on teams like the University of Illinois or Northwestern would have ceased on July 1.
As for Illinois online casino bills, three were filed — HB 2239, HB 2320 and SB 1656 — but none made it out of committee.
The expectation is state lawmakers will address online casinos next year.