Louisiana Governor Names Sen. Ronnie Johns Gaming Control Board Chairman

Spread the Word:

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday appointed Sen. Ronnie Johns as chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the authority struggling to launch sports betting timely. The state is likely to miss the launch of the new industry this fall amid the abrupt departure of the former regulatory chief.

Edwards is from Sulphur, near Lake Charles, one of the Sugar State’s gambling hubs.

The 71-year-old submitted a resignation from his senatorial seat, saying it was an honor to serve the Senate district for nine years.

Johns, who’s from the Louisiana State District 27, resigned from his position with more than two years in his tenure. He would be unable to run again for the senatorial seat because of term limits.

Why Did Former Head Resign Abruptly?

The former senator replaces Mike Noel, who resigned last month days before he was to appear before a Senate hearing regarding his previous actions as State Police commander.

Noel had to face legislative inquiry concerning the death of Ronald Greene, a black man who died during police custody in 2019. At the time of Greene’s death, Noel was the State Police chief of staff. The black man’s death is under federal investigation.

Noel eventually stepped down on June 9. He was paid $152,531 annually as chairman of the nine-member Gaming Control Board, according to the Associated Press.

What Did Johns Say About His New Role?

A state lawmaker since 1996, Johns had indicated an interest in his role as chairman when the seat was open both times.

“It’s something that I felt I would be good at. It’s a position that requires a real steady hand and hard decisions,” he said. “The chairman has to ensure the gaming industry is clean and compliant in what they do.”

The former senator said the chairman must also be “very fair” to the gaming industry, allowing them to conduct business in a compliant way.

John has worked in the Senate Judiciary B Committee, where all gaming-related legislation is filtered.

The new chairman said he thinks he has those qualities.

How Can We Test Johns’ ‘Qualities’?

Nobody will doubt Johns’ qualities as the chair of the Gaming Control Board if he ensures the timely launch of Louisiana sports betting by the upcoming NFL Season.

The governor had signed into law the remaining two sports betting bills, paving the way for launch by September.

Last November, voters in 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes had approved sports betting, allowing the state lawmakers to legalize betting on mobile devices and through retail locations. Louisiana bettors will also be able to place legal bets at kiosks in bars and restaurants that serve liquor.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board was authorized to prepare sports betting rules – which are effective from July 1 – to ensure the state bettors may have the legal betting option this football season.

But The Launch May Delay…

However, the Louisiana sports betting launch is likely to miss the original goal. The absence of the regulatory chief for some time appears to be one of the reasons.

Johns has already said the rules won’t likely be written until November as “it’s a comprehensive process to go through.”

The Sugar State’s 15 riverboat licenses, the Harrah’s casino in New Orleans, and the four racetracks will be the first to get the go-ahead with sports betting as all of their background checks have been made, Johns said.

The smaller business applying for licenses via the Louisiana Lottery will be included in the second phase.

However, no one will be allowed to offer legal sports betting in Louisiana until the LGCB sets the rules to regulate the new industry. Sports betting might not be operational this year, according to some state officials.

Related News

October 22, 2020

Louisiana Voters to ‘Elect’ or ‘Reject’ Sports Betting in November

This November’s general election will be something special for the state of Louisiana as they will be doing more than just electing political leaders; Louisiana voters will have the power […]

read more
Louisiana state house
July 19, 2021

DraftKings Obtains Louisiana DFS License

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Thursday awarded the first daily fantasy operator license to DraftKings, allowing it to operate in the approved parishes. However, rival FanDuel failed to obtain […]

read more
Louisiana sign
June 11, 2021

Louisiana Sports Betting Hinges On Lawmakers’ Last Minute Decision

Louisiana lawmakers have literally hours left to iron out differences surrounding a sports betting bill before the state legislature adjourns June 10. It comes after the state Senate on Tuesday […]

read more
Louisiana state house
July 5, 2021

Louisiana Sports Betting Could Delay Amid Headless Regulatory Body

Louisiana sports betting could miss the original goal of launching by the upcoming NFL Season amid the lack of a regulatory chief in office. The sports betting laws in Louisiana […]

read more
Louisiana state house
June 8, 2021

Louisiana House Clears Sports Betting Bill Amid Tight Deadline

Louisiana House has approved sports betting legislation nearly two weeks after Senate passed it, and a week before the adjournment. The hopes of sports betting launch by this fall are […]

read more
June 22, 2020

Louisiana Governor Signs Sports Betting Referendum Bill

Gov John Bel Edwards has officially signed the Louisiana sports betting referendum bill, Senate Bill 130, a move that could see legalized betting in the state by 2021. Although the […]

read more
Betting on football
November 6, 2020

Louisiana, Maryland & South Dakota Pass Sports Betting Bills

Three more states – Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota – decided to allow sports betting through citizens’ vote on Tuesday’s election. All three markets are expected to launch sports betting […]

read more
Louisiana sports betting
July 25, 2021

Louisiana Lawmakers Agree to Caesars Naming Rights Deal With Superdome

The Louisiana Superdome will be the nation’s first NFL stadium explicitly bearing the name of a casino – Caesars Entertainment – as soon as next month. It comes after a […]

read more
New Orleans
June 24, 2021

Louisiana Governor Signs Sports Betting Bills Into Law

Gov. John Bel Edwards has cleared the path for a timely launch of Louisiana sports betting by signing the final two sports betting bills into law. On Tuesday, the governor […]

read more
June 17, 2019

Lawmakers in Louisiana Can’t Get DFS / Sports Betting Bill Over the Finish Line

With the clock literally ticking down on the last day of Louisiana’s legislative session, a veteran lawmaker who previously championed legalized sports betting stalled for time to effectively kill a […]

read more
Louisiana state house
May 17, 2021

Louisiana House Sends Sports Betting Bill to Senate After Approval

The Louisiana House of Representatives has approved a sports betting bill this week after some delay and with several amendments. HB 697 was passed by a 77-24 majority on Monday. […]

read more
November 20, 2019

Louisiana Charitable Gaming Laws

§ 4:701. Citation This Chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Charitable Raffles, Bingo and Keno Licensing Law”. § 4:702. Declaration of purpose A. The Legislature of […]

read more

Stay Updated & Receive Exclusive Offers

Be the first to know when new states legalize online gambling and gain access to exclusive casino and sports betting promotional offers.