Last week, state lawmakers decided to allow some people with criminal records to work in casinos. The head of MGM Springfield said the company is "very excited" by the change.
Before the bill became law, people with criminal histories were barred from jobs in casinos.
MGM argued that many of Springfield's unemployed residents would have been ineligible to work at what will be a major employer in the city.
Mike Mathis, president of MGM Springfield, said the company will be looking for job applicants whose crimes indicate bad judgment versus bad character.
"We get someone who made an unfortunate mistake and, say, wrote a bad check back when they were young, and six years later, they're interested in a job in the warehouse," he said. "That's an applicant we wouldn't put in the cage, or around cash, but it's somebody we might feel comfortable giving a second chance to stock a warehouse. Those types of jobs probably represent about maybe a third of the total positions."
MGM has said that without the change, it may not have been able to fulfill its hiring promises: that 35 percent of jobs go to Springfield residents, and 50 percent to minorities and women.
Mathis said mass hirings should begin in February, and continue until the expected opening of the casino next fall.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect transcription. Mathis said MGM might feel “comfortable” giving an ex-offender a second chance, not “uncomfortable.”