It took over a month and a half, but Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards finally named Ronnie Johns the Chairman for the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the group that regulates gaming in the state.
Johns, a Republican who has acted as the chair of the Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs Committee, has proudly served Senate District 27 for nine years but, due to term limits, would not have been able to serve past 2024 when his current seat would have ended.
The 71-year-old Johns lives with his wife and daughter near the Louisiana and Texas border in Sulphur, near Lake Charles, one of the state’s major gambling centers.
Earlier last week, Johns had submitted a letter of resignation from his legislative seat, a clear indication that he would be appointed as Chairman of the nine-member board, a job that paid his predecessor over $150,000 a year before controversy ended his chances.
The job of Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman was originally supposed to be filled by Mike Noel, a former state trooper and State Police chief of staff who resigned on June 9 amid controversy involving the brutal death of Ronald Greene at the hands of state troopers.
Noel left on the same day he was scheduled to face a legislative committee who would have most likely questioned him about the actions he took during that controversial killing when he worked as the State Police chief of staff.
According to the head of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Ted James, moving forward with Noel was out of the question, and last month he told the press:
I had concern with giving somebody who was deeply involved in what I perceive was a coverup any type of promotion.
Greene’s death is still under federal investigation, making it an ongoing situation that would have brought unflattering national attention to the gradual launching of legal sports betting in Louisiana.
Regardless of Johns now being named chairman, it could still take until early next year to launch legal sports betting in the Bayou State, an unavoidable delay that could cost the state millions in potential tax revenue.
Industry experts have predicted the state of Louisiana could bring in $2.5 billion in bets, with operators expected to earn over $200 million in revenue, a decent portion of which would end up in the state coffers as tax revenues, adding to what the successful casino market in the state already earns.
It will now be up to Johns and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to set the betting rules in the 55 of 64 parishes where LA voters agreed to allow sport gambling to take place, and though they may be too late for the upcoming NFL season, sports betting should gradually bring millions to a state still reeling from the two deadly hurricanes that tore through it last year.
Soon Louisiana gamblers will be able to place bets at kiosks in bars and restaurants that serve liquor as well as play daily fantasy sports and thus begin taking full advantage of the rich sports culture that already exists in their state.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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