Under New Law, Ex-Offenders Could Compete For Some Casino Jobs

Nov 3, 2017

Massachusetts lawmakers have passed a measure that would make it easier for people with criminal histories to work at casinos in the state, including MGM Springfield, which is scheduled to open next year.

Under the previous law, people working in Massachusetts casinos had to pass a criminal background check before being hired.

But according to an article in the Valley Advocate, which cited research from MGM, that means more than half of the unemployed population in Springfield would be disqualified.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission asked for an amendment, so that some jobs -- like bartenders or hotel workers -- would still be open to people with records.

On Thursday, Massachusetts lawmakers passed such an amendment in a budget bill, giving the commission "discretion" to exempt certain positions. The bill was signed Friday afternoon by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, acting for Gov. Charlie Baker, who is out of the state on vacation.

MGM said in a statement that it's "heartened" the legislation had progressed.

"Our company advocated for these changes, alongside many Springfield-area groups and citizens," MGM Springfield's Mike Mathis said in a statement. "Jobs that were once out of reach for many will now transform into career opportunities, providing the stable foundation needed to find success.”

A spokeswoman for the gaming commission said the panel "will need to have a lengthy discussion about what specifically this will mean for casino employment and which positions will be impacted by this change."