Friday, Nov. 21, 2003 | 11:06 a.m.
The Nevada Gaming Commission gave final approval Thursday to regulations that will overhaul the present work card system for casino workers across the state and replace it with an employee registration system that begins next year.
Law enforcement agencies are primarily responsible for processing gaming work cards, which are permits that require criminal background checks of workers before they can handle money in casinos. In the spring, Nevada gaming regulators introduced a bill to eliminate the work cards altogether and require casinos to process permits for employees. The program would require casinos to keep permit application forms for prospective employees and to forward those forms to state and federal authorities for a criminal check. The applications are filed with the state Gaming Control Board.
Employees would be responsible for filling out permit applications, paying processing fees and getting fingerprinted with local authorities.
The move follows previously adopted regulations that created a statewide work card program so that employees would be able to obtain work cards good in any casino in the state. The program was also aimed at streamlining a process that previously relied on local agencies operating under a patchwork of different rules. But law enforcement agencies balked, saying they couldn't afford the rising costs of processing the cards.
Regulators then crafted rules that removed the need for work cards by creating a "revenue neutral" system for government and industry. The system, which grants workers a five-year permit, saves processing costs and shifts some reporting responsibility to casinos.
The American Civil Liberties Union had fought the statewide work card program, saying it violates workers' privacy rights by creating a state repository of personal data easily tapped by law enforcement officials for purposes unrelated to work cards.
Regulators Thursday said they devised a simplified system for registering employees that doesn't endanger worker privacy.
Casinos would be able to access a records system to determine whether the person is registered or subject to objection, suspension or revocation.
Nothing else about the person -- such as their criminal or employment history -- would be available in the system, regulators said.