Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chair Ronnie Jones out as lawmakers failed to confirm his reappointment

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chair Ronnie Jones out as lawmakers failed to confirm his reappointment

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) is now set to get a new chairperson as the state Senate failed to confirm the reappointment of longtime Chair Ronnie Jones to the position.

According to media reports, personal politics may be blamed for the Senate’s failure in confirming the reappointment of Jones to the position as a state Senator from New
Orleans reportedly blocked the nomination.

On Monday, the Louisiana Senate had received a list of more than seven hundred approved appointments from the Governmental Affairs Committee, but Jones’ name was not in the list. Jones remained an integral part of LGCB for nearly thirty years. The longtime state official served as a spokesperson for the police department after it created the regulatory framework for riverboat casinos in the year of 1991.

Former Republican Governor Bobby Jindal had appointed him to serve as the chair of the gaming board nearly six years ago. Current Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards had also expressed his intention to reappoint Jones to the position. However, the state Senate confirmed two appointees by Gov. Edwards as O’ Lamar Poole Jr. of Baton Rouge and Julie A. Lewis of Monroe were approved.

Created roughly two and a half decades ago, the gaming board is a 9-member body which is responsible for regulating the fifteen riverboat casinos, more than 2,000 video poker terminals, four racing joints, and a land-based casino in New Orleans. These gaming and entertainment facilities collectively generate nearly $610 million in revenue for the state per annum.

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, a Democratic senator from New Orleans, was reportedly responsible for ousting Jones from the gaming board. Media reports suggest that Sen. Peterson made use of a rare tactic that enables a senator to snub a governor’s candidate to a state body.
Peterson, the state Democratic Party’s chairwoman, has publicly announced that she was committed to battle gaming addiction in the state.

Argumentative politics is not new to the Louisiana legislature, where lawmakers are now taking up various gaming-related issues, including tax on fantasy sports. The lawmakers have already approved a sports betting referendum in a regular session earlier this year.

Jones, who served as LGCB Chair for nearly three decades, was awarded the prestigious North American Regulator of the Year Award in 2017 by the non-profit association International Masters of Gaming Law.