New York Casino Union Celebrates New State Gun Law in Wake of Supreme Court Ruling

The New York casino union that represents workers employed in the gaming industry says the state’s new gun law adequately provides protection for its members.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) poses with a law she just signed on July 1, 2022, that restricts where someone with a concealed weapon is legally permitted to carry the firearm. A New York casino union helped include provisions into the measure that bans weapons on commercial gaming floors. (Image: The New York Times)

The US Supreme Court last month expanded gun rights in New York by striking down a 109-year-old law that only allowed individuals who were able to demonstrate an unusual threat to their personal safety to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside of their homes. Critics of the SCOTUS ruling said the 6-3 decision, with the conservative-appointed justices ruling against New York, will make the state less safe.

In response, the New York State Legislature quickly passed new laws that restrict where concealed carry permit holders are allowed to bring firearms. Though the measure, which was signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) after passing both legislative chambers by wide margins, is expected to draw more legal challenges from gun-rights advocates, for now, the casino union says the bill is a victory for safety.

Obviously, it’s not safe to allow guests and members of the public to wander into hotels, restaurants, and casinos fully armed,” said Rich Maroko, president of the New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council (HTC), which is a part of the AFL-CIO national organization.

Without the gun law in response to the SCOTUS conceal carry decision, Maroko opined that casino union workers would be risking their lives to make a living.

“An angry customer at the front desk, across the bar, or on the casino floor isn’t just an angry customer — they are potentially an angry customer with a gun,” the union boss declared.

Union Provisions

New York lawmakers got to work quickly after the US Supreme Court said the state’s longtime protocols in determining who does and doesn’t qualify for a concealed carry license ran afoul of the US Constitution.

State officials initially crafted their bill response to prohibit concealed firearms from being carried in an array of public settings, including in subways, schools, playgrounds, polling locations, and other “sensitive areas.”

The HTC union, Maroko said, successfully lobbied Albany to include numerous other settings such as casinos, hotels, and nightclubs where alcohol is served. The union added that it additionally made sure that the law was written in a way that allows private businesses like casinos and resorts to ban guns throughout their premises.

“Just one week after this disastrous ruling by the Supreme Court, our union got both ironclad contractual protection and real legislative reform that keep us safe on the job. It is a remarkable accomplishment,” Maroko concluded.

New York’s new gun law is to take effect on September 1, 2022.

New York Casino Union

HTC represents workers at three of New York’s four upstate commercial casinos — Resorts World Catskills, del Lago Resort & Casino, and Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. Tioga Downs is not an HTC property.

New York’s two downstate racinos — Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway and Resorts World New York City — are also represented by the HTC union.

The union says it represents nearly 40,000 non-managerial hospitality and gaming employees. Union workers include table game dealers, slot techs and mechanics, cashiers, bartenders, cocktail servers, front-desk employees, and housekeepers.

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