A bill approved Monday by the full Assembly in a vote of 63-8-1, would allow individuals who have successfully completed a special probation program after being convicted of certain drug offenses to be eligible for casino key employee licenses or casino employee registration.
The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, both from District 2; it now heads to the Senate for review.
“Substance abuse can lead to a vicious circle,” said Mazzeo. “With a drug conviction on their record, it can be difficult for a person to find gainful employment to try to better their lives. To break this cycle, we’ll need to provide more viable opportunities for those recovering from substance abuse to become productive members of their communities.”
Under current law, people who have been convicted of drug offenses are not eligible to apply for casino employee licenses.
Casino key employee jobs include managers of hotel operations, human resources, entertainment or food and beverages; directors of security, surveillance or marketing; and gaming floor supervisors, among others.
Assembly Bill 5817/Senate Bill 4263 would prohibit the Casino Control Commission from denying a casino key employee license or casino employee registration to any applicant who has been sentenced to, and successfully discharged from, a special probation term for the conviction of an offense involving a controlled dangerous substance, an imitation controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog.
Special probation serves as an alternative to incarceration by allowing a person to complete a residential or non-residential rehabilitation program or process lasting up to five years. To qualify for a special probation program, a person who committed a drug offense must be identified by a professional diagnostic assessment as drug or alcohol dependent, and as someone who would benefit from treatment.
“Sustained employment can help a person in recovery rebuild their lives,” said Armato. “Atlantic City’s revitalization continues to bring more jobs and businesses to the area, including at two new casinos. People who have overcome their addiction deserve a chance to find gainful employment, and there are so many options right here in Atlantic County.”