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Can a Felon Go To a Casino?

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One form of entertainment that a felon may have enjoyed prior to his or her incarceration might have been going to a casino. For many, this might have been a relaxing form of entertainment. Once his or her current sentence has been completed, he or she may still enjoy and want to go to a casino again.

But, can a felon go to a casino?

This blog post will address the question of whether in not a felon can go to a casino.

  • What Is a Casino?
  • Types of Casinos
  • Requirements to Enter a Casino
  • Requirements to Gamble in a Casino
  • In a Felon’s Best Interest?


What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility that allows certain types of gambling. Often, a casino is built near or as part of a hotel, restaurant, cruise ship, or other tourist attraction. While gambling is not the only thing offered at a casino, some casinos are known for live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sports.

Casino gambling was introduced in the United States and permitted since 1931. Casino gambling was introduced in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1978. Since the 1980s, casinos have also appeared on some American Indian reservations.

Types of Casinos

There are a wide variety of these types of casinos in the U.S. Typical casino types include:

  • Indian casinos – Indian casinos are also known as tribal casinos and are typically located on federally recognized Indian reservations. They range in size from quite small to some of the largest in the country. 
  • Pari-mutuel casinos – Pari-mutuel casinos are locations with legalized betting on horse or golden races.  A majority of pari-mutuel facilities in the U.S. are racetracks. 
  • Land-based casinos – Land-based casinos reported typical casinos such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City.  They are often stand-alone types of facilities.
  • Riverboat casinos – Riverboat casinos are casinos located inside riverboats and located in many states throughout the South and the Midwest.  

Requirements to Enter a Casino

Just as with the general population, there are no specific laws prohibiting a felon from entering a casino. As long as he or she has the proper identification, that person will be allowed inside the casino. Restrictions come in for a felon going into a casino if there are gambling restrictions on his or her probation terms. These restrictions, of course, would last as long as the period of probation. Following that, all such restrictions would be lifted, and a felon should have no difficulty in being able to enter and participate in any activities within a legal casino.

Requirements to Gamble in a Casino

In order to gamble in a casino, a patron must have a valid ID. Typical acceptable types of ID at U.S. casinos include:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Military ID card
  • Passport
  • Passport card

Someone with a driver’s authorization card, tribal issued ID, or other non-government ID will typically not even be allowed in a casino.  

In a Felon’s Best Interest?

Casinos have a zero tolerance policy for felonies and drug use. If there is evidence of a criminal conviction, an applicant for a job in a casino must provide the dates and details of what happened for any arrest even if charges were dropped or dismissed. 

These are factors for anyone looking to work in a casino. Of course, it isn’t the same thing to gamble in a casino as it is to apply for a job there. The same strict types of guidelines apply to someone wanting to gamble. 

While there are no restrictions by law to prevent a felon from going to a casino, it may not be in his or her best interest to do so. A felon could set himself up for potential legal difficulties if there is any type of public disturbance in the casino or any other issue that could result in having security officers from the casino involved. 

For a felon on probation, any sort of incident resulting in getting attention from authorities, could result in his or her probation officer receiving a report that could jeopardize the felon’s terms of probation. In case of any challenges, legal counsel may be required.

This is certainly something he or she does not need. A felon does not need anything that could result in having probation terminated and returning to prison. Already, almost one third of felons return to prison within the first two years following release. Don’t become another statistic.

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