New York Casino Work for Ex-Cons in the Cards as Gov. Hochul Mulls Bill

  • The Senate and the Assembly both okayed the bill to allow ex-cons to work in casinos
  • Gov. Hochul now has the power to approve the legislation or veto it
  • Rush Street has complained about lack of jobseekers to fill certain casino roles in NY
  • Conservative Party chairman Kassar has branded the legislation “just wrong”
Prisoner in handcuffs
Convicted felons could be on the staff payroll of New York casinos such as Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady if Gov. Hochul approves legislation. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Legislation lands on Hochul’s desk

Future visitors to New York casinos could have their dice rolled by ex-drug traffickers or convicted killers should Governor Kathy Hochul sign off on new legislation.

the Governor now has the power to either sign the bill into law or veto it

The eye-catching bill, co-sponsored by Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, arrived on Gov. Hochul’s desk Tuesday. With the Senate and the Assembly already passing the measure by significant bipartisan margins, the Governor now has the power to either sign the bill into law or veto it.

According to the New York Post, Pretlow said the bill would create job opportunities in casinos for people “who deserve a second chance.” The assemblyman said jobseekers “shouldn’t be denied employment because they got a drug felony conviction.”

Labor shortage

As per the NY Post, lawmakers in New York have noticed a lack of jobseekers to fill certain roles in the casino industry. One such venue is the Rush Street Gaming-owned Rivers Casino and Resort in upstate New York.

not opposed to it.”

Asked where it stood on ex-cons filling casino jobs, Rush Street stated it was “not opposed to it.” Instead, the Chicago-based gambling giant said it supported “the legislature’s commitment to second chances and strengthening of the New York workforce.”

If Hochul passes the bill, jobseekers with a prior felony conviction for embezzlement, theft, fraud, or perjury will remain barred from applying for a casino license or working in casinos.

Should a casino staffed with ex-cons turn into a gangster’s paradise, however, the New York State Gaming Commission’s regulatory power “to deny or issue a gaming license” still holds sway under the new bill, Rush Street highlighted.

Bill draws fire

Casino heist films like Ocean’s Eleven and 3,000 Miles To Graceland are part of US popular culture, so it’s no surprise the idea of former criminals working in casinos has its critics. None more vocal than state Conservative Party chairman Gerald Kassar, who branded the legislation “just wrong.”

Kassar deemed the bill “another example of the New York State Legislature imposing a liberal policy in an area they shouldn’t touch.”

New York could soon add more casinos to its skyline with an operator application window opening January 6. A group comprising Caesars Entertainment and New York property developer SL Green raised the profile of their NY casino bid Monday by partnering with Brooklyn-born Jay-Z and his entertainment agency Roc Nation.