Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Senator Ronnie Johns (R-27) to chair the Louisiana Gaming Control Board after its former chairman resigned in June.

Johns resigned his seat on the Louisiana Senate, on which he had served since 2012, to accept the position, according to KSLA News.

New chairman for Louisiana sports betting

He will begin his new position immediately, which is good news for the Louisiana sports betting launch this fall.

“It has been my honor to serve the citizens of District 27 as their senator for almost 10 years,” Johns told KSLA News. “I am grateful for the trust they placed in me and I want them to know this new position will allow me to continue serving them, just in a different way. The gaming industry plays a vital economic role in Southwest Louisiana and across the state. Gaming is the largest single private industry source of revenue for the state budget. This new position will give me the opportunity to work with the state gaming control board, elected officials and industry representatives to ensure the integrity of gaming in Louisiana. I am humbled and appreciative for being entrusted with this responsibility.”

Without a chairman the Louisiana Gaming Control Board could not craft the state’s sports betting rules. Rules and regulations for sports betting must be approved before casinos and third-party sportsbook operators can begin to construct brick-and-mortar sportsbooks or eligible facilities can apply for retail sports betting kiosks.

Former Chairman Mike Noel resigned from his position on June 9 after less than a year on the job. Noel was faced with the possibility of appearing before a Senate confirmation hearing where he may have been questioned about his role as State Police commander during the 2019 fatal arrest of Black motorist Ronald Greene, according to the Lafeyette Daily Advertiser.

Louisiana sports betting awaits launch

Louisiana will allow 20 sports betting licenses, one each for the the state’s 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos (horse tracks) and one land-based casino. Each license will also include two mobile licenses, which could mean a potential of 41 “skins” for Louisiana online sports betting. The one additional skin would be allotted to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.

Each facility applying for a sports betting license will be required to construct a retail sportsbook to be eligible.

Facilities with Class-A onsite consumption liquor licenses can receive a mobile wagering device, called a kiosk, to allow patrons to participate in online sports betting while in their facility. This would be run under the purveyance of the Louisiana Lottery Corporation and revenue would be taxed at 10%.

A sports betting ban on in-state collegiate programs was not included in the bill.

Sports betting will be legal in 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes that approved the measure in the November 2020 general election. In-person and online sports betting will not be permitted for residents living in the following parishes:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • LaSalle
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn