Gaming industry should bear cost of work cards

Work cards, which attest that casino employees have passed a background check, are an integral part of the integrity of Nevada's gaming industry.

So there is no question the cards should remain a requirement for employment. The question is who should pay for the cost of doing the background checks.

Traditionally, those background checks are done by local law enforcement departments. The cost, currently set by state law at $75, is paid by the worker.

Clark County law enforcement agencies, which issue some 20,000 a year, are preparing to stop providing the backgrounds checks and issuing the work cards. Others are likely to follow.

That means the Gaming Control Board will have to pick up the slack, at a cost of more than $1.5 million a year just to cover the Clark County applicants.

While it would have been preferable to have a plan in place, it's best the state pick up the task of issuing work cards. The law already was amended last legislative session to make work cards issued in one county good anywhere in the state. So it makes sense to have a single agency responsible for conducting consistent, thorough background investigations and maintaining a statewide database of approved workers.

The $75 per card charge, however, apparently isn't covering the cost of the work involved in performing background checks. We don't know if that's truly the case, but it's the excuse being used in Clark County for dropping the service.

Perhaps some efficiency can be achieved on a statewide level. If not, the charge will need to be raised.

Unfortunately, that cost usually falls on the job applicant -- who, more often than not, is already hurting economically and will have a tough time coming up with the money to pay for a work card.

Once the applicant gets a work card and is employed, however, the cost should be reimbursed by the casino doing the hiring. Not only would it be a nice gesture, it would mean the expense of the work-card investigation is being borne by the industry which benefits from it.


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