Louisiana State Senator Ronnie Johns Named Chairman of the Gaming Control Board
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) named Republican, Johns to chair the Louisiana Gaming Control Board this week. Johns, 71, is from the city of Sulphur, Louisiana, which is located close to Lake Charles, one of the state’s gambling hotspots. Two catastrophic storms swept across South Louisiana close to the border of Texas last year, and the area is still recuperating.
The Isle of Capri riverboat casino in Lake Charles was blown from a Hurricane cyclone, slamming into a bridge. No injuries were reported. The casino will debut as a gambling hall next year.
Johns resigned from his parliamentary post last week by submitting the brief letter, stating it had been a pleasure to represent the district for a period of nine years. According to the Associated Press, Johns stepped down despite having two years until he wouldn’t be able to run once more due to term restrictions.
Johns replaces Mike Noel. Noel resigned this June as the legislature’s two-month session at the Capitol in Baton Rouge ended.
If Mike Noel had wanted to stay, he would have been questioned by lawmakers concerning the death of an African-American driver in North Louisiana in 2019. Noel was the State Police chief of staff at motorist Ronald Greene’s death, overseeing daily operations. The FBI is investigating Greene’s death. According to the Associated Press, Noel received $152,531 per year as head of the nine-member Control Board.
No Presence in Veto Session
Associated Press mentioned that members from the Republican Party members chastised Johns for skipping the two-day veto session last week. Republicans attempted but failed to overturn two of the governor’s vetoes during the brief session. Edwards vetoed a bill that would have prohibited transgender students from participating in school sports, as well as a law that would have eased the requirements for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Johns could not participate in the veto session, which finished on Wednesday, due to surgery. According to the Associated Press, several conservatives accused him of skipping the override session to guarantee the Democratic governor’s Control Board appointment and chairman’s pay.
Johns takes over as chairman of the Control Board, drafting regulations to enable sports betting in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it in November.
This year, the legislature enacted laws allowing sports betting on mobile devices, such as cell phones, and in-person in casino sportsbooks. Bettors will soon be allowed to place bets from the kiosks erected at pubs and restaurants that offer alcoholic beverages.
However, not legal sports betting in Louisiana will be allowed until the board sets rules. Many state officials believe that sports betting will not be operational until next year.
Earlier this month, the board granted DraftKings, a Boston-based firm that offers various online sports betting games and tournaments, the first daily fantasy sports betting license. In games associated with fantasy sports, participants create a fictional team of actual athletes and track their numbers each week for a chance to win cash.