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Gaming Corporation Doesn’t Bet the House Because Its Supplier Checks Out Job Applicants

No hiring roulette for Boyd Gaming.

Stan Smith, Vice President of Risk Management/Security for the Las Vegas-based company, says some candidates aren’t “always truthful” on their employment applications. One “forgot to list” a felony conviction for grand larceny, which is a theft over $250. Another ignored an active warrant for prostitution. A third applied for a job fresh out of prison. A fourth used the social security number of a dead person.

Walk through a casino and one is struck by the huge amounts of cash seemingly everywhere. So, while honesty is a prized characteristic of any employee, it is an absolute necessity for employees of gaming companies.

That’s why Boyd Gaming, which owns the Stardust, Sam’s Town, the Orleans, and the Sun Coast, among other casinos in Las Vegas, orders background checks on every potential employee. Currently, every one of the 30,000 employees in its gaming family (the corporation has casinos in eight US states) has had one.

“Our company is based on integrity. It starts at the beginning. You have to tell the truth on your employment application,” says Smith.

The Complexity of Checking Criminal Records

Checking the criminal record is easy if all your employees come from the county where your business is based. The employer could go to the local courthouse to check arrests records.

But Boyd Gaming has employees from all over the world. In this peripatetic world, the background investigator must perform searches in multiple jurisdictions. And that’s just for criminal records. Boyd Gaming also checks the accuracy of social security numbers (it does not want to hire illegal aliens), the veracity of educational degrees, and the truth behind work history timelines. And it makes sure no new employee is on any of the government’s terrorist lists.

The complexity of the requisite searches made outsourcing criminal history checks an easy decision. “We would have had to hire many full-time employees in all 50 states to do the job properly,” Smith says.

Five years ago Boyd Gaming built a relationship with Accurate Background, Inc. to verify criminal history checks on an employee’s application are correct. Previously, the gaming company had contracts with another supplier. “We changed suppliers so that we could build a solid relationship with one who understood our needs and could produce quick and accurate results,” he explains.

Catherine Aldrich, Executive Vice President at Accurate Background, says Boyd Gaming “is very thorough;” it requires all employees to have a background check, not just key employees and individuals like dealers who handle lots of cash. Some of Accurate Background’s clients don’t require across-the-board checks, she reports.

All casinos must win a gaming license from state regulators. Smith says the gaming boards in all Boyd’s jurisdictions require background checks for key employees. But the Las Vegas company felt it was important to check out everyone, including the maids. Requiring everyone to submit to the checks “makes sense from a risk management standpoint,” he explains. For example, a maid’s integrity is just as crucial to the company “because we want our guests to know their belongings are safe in their rooms.”

Accurate Background, which completes over one million background checks a year, has access to criminal records in all 50 US states and territories, as well as over 250 countries globally. It also has verification tools to check college graduation dates and verify social security numbers.

The supplier opened its doors as wholesaler of criminal records to other employee background screening companies. Then a major retailer approached the company to do background checks for its new employees. Since then, Accurate Background, Inc. has performed criminal backgrounds for household names like JCPenney and Washington Mutual.

The supplier usually performs a background check within 48 hours; Smith says a simple search (i.e. a model citizen who lives in Las Vegas who has applied to a Las Vegas property) can come back in 24 hours. He reports the outsourcer performs these searches “much faster” than his staff could because “this information is not readily available to us.”

How Outsourcing Is Achieving Strategic Goals

Speed is a strategic business benefit for Boyd Gaming because it allows the corporation to hire qualified, quality people quickly. “When we have a shortage, we need to fill those jobs ASAP because we don’t want a gap in our ability to provide good customer service,” says the casino executive.

The price is right. The HR supplier charges a flat fee per search no matter how many counties it has to scour for the appropriate records. Accurate Background searches for the name on the application as well as all aliases.

Smith says background checks save the company money by helping to prevent lawsuits. “We have to protect our company from unlawful hiring and retention,” he explains. “We don’t want anyone on our payroll who can cause our customers injury while they are working.”

How the Process Works

Candidates who want to work for Boyd Gaming start the employment process by going to the company’s Web site and completing an application. If the company is interested, it will phone the prospect to schedule an interview. After a manager decides to add the person to the payroll, the gaming company makes a conditional offer. At that time the candidate has to sign forms authorizing a drug test and background check.

The Corporate Risk Management Department utilizes the online Accurate Background system to submit its request, which gets to work as the clock is running. Candidates have the right to dispute the report if they believe it is incorrect.

Aldrich says in today’s uncertain world, “You have to be absolutely certain you know with whom you are dealing.” Her company makes sure buyers like Boyd Gaming see all the cards before making a hiring decision.

Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:

  • In today’s uncertain times, employers are doing background checks on all employees. That includes checking their criminal background, educational history, work history, social security number, and inclusion on government terrorist lists. Outsourcing makes this process faster and more cost-effective since employees come from all over the world.
  • Retail stores, gaming companies, and hotels are increasingly requiring background checks on all employees, not just key players.
  • Background checks limit corporate liability because they reduce the chance of employees harming customers while at work.
  • Outsourcing background checks can help corporate strategy by helping companies hire employees faster since a supplier can complete the checks faster than in-house staffs.
  • Untruthful employment applications are a problem.

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