Ohio’s casino employees have just been given permission to try something new

  • The Ohio Senate has passed a new law that allows casino employees to gamble at other venues
  • Previously, this had been an offence in the state that could carry a fine and prison sentence

Casino employees aren’t meant to gamble. Not in their own casinos and, according to the laws that exist in many states in the US, not in other casinos either. The reasons for this are obvious: while the odds of an employee seeking to gain an unfair advantage through nepotism or inside knowledge are unlikely, casinos must be seen to be squeaky clean.

ohio casino employees can gamble now
A slice of the action: Ohio’s casino employees are now free to gamble

Barring employees from gambling is the simplest way to prevent them from ever being tempted to cheat. It’s also a move which instils confidence in the general public.

Broken with tradition

This week, Ohio has broken with tradition and officially passed a law that allows casino employees to gamble in other casinos. This might seem like a small matter, but it’s one that could have far-reaching effects. If the new law proves successful in Ohio, there’s every chance that a similar law could be pushed through in other states too.

The bill which finally passed the Ohio Senate was twice shot down last year but this time it passed with ease after Senators voted 32-0 to enable the bill, allowing employees of Ohio’s four casinos to gamble in the other three.

Still rules to abide by

There are a few conditions in place, specifically that employees may “participate in casino gaming at a casino facility, so long as the operator or employee does not have an interest in the facility, is not employed at the facility and does not have an interest or employment at an affiliated facility in Ohio.”

Few gamblers would surely begrudge casino staff getting in on the action at other facilities, where the odds of them being able to cheat in any way are slim to non-existent. Or to put it differently, there’s no more likelihood of casino staff being mates with staff at another casino than there is of the general public being friends with them.

The law that’s just passed in Ohio is represents a complete volte-face, as previously gambling at another state casino could see employees landed with a first-degree misdemeanour charge, one which carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a hefty fine.

Explaining the change in thinking, Ohio Casino Control Commission executive director Matthew Schuler said: “After five years of regulating and enforcing the law at Ohio’s casinos, we have not had a case of employees from different casinos working in collusion to cheat. In fact, given the systems of surveillance, segregated duties and internal controls unique to each casino operator, it would be difficult to even attempt.”

It will be very interesting to see if the new law causes a snowball effect, culminating in employees across America – and possibly the rest of the world – being permitted to gamble at rival casinos in future.

OUR VERDICT

In some respects it seems kind of obvious that casino staff have until now not been permitted to gamble at their own, or other casinos. After all, someone that is exposed to casino games and gambling – whether they’re a dealer, a chip runner, a pit boss or even a barman – must pick up some insider knowledge, right? And when it comes to playing with your own money, why should someone else have a slight edge over you? Well, that idea has changed in Ohio and there’s reason to see why. As quoted, there has never been an instance (known, of course) of casino staff cheating or working together to cheat. So we enter the scenario where they are now free to gamble in other casinos. And in many ways, why shouldn’t they? Remember, after the dealer clocks off he or she has a life too. If they want to part with some of their hard-earned – however ill-advised that may turn out to be – then why not.

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