Md. bill would allow nonviolent offenders to get jobs at casinos

A new bill in Maryland would make it possible for people convicted of specific nonviolent crimes to get jobs at local casinos.

“These are opportunities that help create a change within our community,” Maryland State Del. Nick Charles from Prince George’s County told WTOP.

Charles sponsored the bill, saying it’s an opportunity to change the law to help support reentry into the workforce. MGM Resorts is working in partnership with Charles to help get the bill passed.

“For folks who have misdemeanors, nonviolent crimes, you know, this is a big deal,” Charles said.

The bill is making its way through the State House but hasn’t been voted on yet.

Right now, Maryland law stops those with a conviction, on active parole, or on probation for crimes from applying for a lottery employee license in order to get a job at a casino seven years from the date of the offense.

The new law would allow previous nonviolent offenders whose crime didn’t involve gambling to apply to jobs at the six Maryland casinos if they graduate from a problem-solving court program.

“The goal is for everybody to be re-acclimated in society and be productive citizens,” Charles said. “This is a great opportunity. And I’m happy to be a part of it.”

He said it will help those struggling with addictions to get back on their feet.

“It addresses that issue for folks who had these addictions before, they’ve gone through the drug courts, they changed their lives around and now they’re looking for that second chance. So this is a great opportunity for them to get that second chance,” Charles said.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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