New Law in Nevada Seeks to Expand Background Checks for Gaming Industry Employees

By Michael Klazema on 6/30/2015
Nevada will soon give extra leeway to gaming industry employers looking to gain insight into their applicants' financial histories. The state's legislature recently passed a bill that will remove certain credit reporting agency prohibitions, hopefully making it easier for casinos and other employers to spot applicants with dodgy or suspicious financial histories.

Previously, Federal Law has barred credit reporting agencies from turning over certain pieces of financial history to employers, including bankruptcy filings dating back more than 10 years and other negative credit financial history (including civil judgments or criminal convictions) dating back more than seven years. A corresponding state law reaffirmed similar rules for Nevada employers.

However, now that the state legislature has passed Senate Bill 409, those rules are going to change. The new law will overturn previous state and Federal statutes, giving credit agencies permission to disclose older bankruptcy filings (and other pieces of negative credit history) to gaming industry employers.

In order to make a change, the bill noted that the Federal version of the credit reporting law includes an exception. In cases where a credit report is being "prepared in connection with the employment of an individual whose salary will be greater than $75,000," the credit reporting agency is allowed to disclose older findings. Nevada will now be parroting that exception into their own law, effectively giving the state's many casinos the ability to dig much deeper into the financial histories of applicants.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Mark Lipparelli, who actually has ties to the gaming industry. Previously, Lipparelli served as Chairman for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Senate Bill 409, therefore, was something of a tribute to his past, as well as a favor to former colleagues. By being able to run more in-depth background checks on applicants, gaming industry employers will be able to better protect their assets and their customers.

Job searchers and equal hiring proponents, meanwhile, will likely be quite critical of the new law. After all, under Lipparelli's amendment, certain financial mistakes and crimes can now follow a person forever in Nevada. A bankruptcy filing from 20 years ago, for instance, could cost someone a job today, regardless of what their current financial status and overall reputation is. And while gaming industry employers will hopefully weigh the age of certain mistakes and offenses against what the applicant in question has done since, there is no language in Senate Bill 409 that broaches the subject of fair or equal employment opportunity.

So is this new law a true chance for the Nevada casino industry to better protect themselves from bad hires? Only time will tell.

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