MGM Springfield casino delighted with change that allows those with criminal past apply for jobs

  • Lawmakers amend law that required casino workers to pass criminal background check
  • MGM claim half of the unemployed population of Springfield were ineligible to work at the city’s new casino

Lawmakers in Massachusetts lawmakers have signed off on an amendment to state law that will pave the way for people with criminal histories to seek employment at the state’s casinos.

MGM Springfield
MGM Springfield Casino artists’ impression

Previously, anyone applying for a job at a state casino was subjected to a criminal background check, but this law had been challenged by officials ahead of the new MGM Springfield resort – which is due to open next year.

They referred to research that suggested over half of the unemployed population of the city would be ineligible to work at the new casino if the state law was not changed.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission had also lobbied for an amendment, making it possible for some casino jobs such as bartending or hotel work to be open for those who had non-violent criminal records.

Very excited

Reacting to the development, the president of MGM Springfield, Mike Mathis, said that the company, which is set to be a major employer in the city, was very excited at the change.

He also gave more detail on their hiring priorities, stating that they would consider applicants whose criminal record suggested bad judgement rather than bad character.

“We get someone who made an unfortunate mistake and, say, wrote a bad check back when they were young, and six years later, they’re interested in a job in the warehouse. That’s an applicant we wouldn’t put in the cage, or around cash, but it’s somebody we might feel comfortable giving a second chance to stock a warehouse. Those types of jobs probably represent about maybe a third of the total positions.”

MGM had also claimed that if the law was not amended, they would not have been able to meet their hiring pledge to ensure that 35 per cent of jobs at the new casino would be given to Springfield residents with 50 per cent allocated to women and minorities.

According to Mathis, hirings are set to begin in February 2018 ahead of the scheduled opening later in the year.

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