Ronnie Johns announces retirement as La. Gaming Board chairman

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, May 9, 2024

Special to the American Press

Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board Ronnie Johns, has notified Gov. Jeff Landry that he will be resigning his position as chairman and as a member of the Board effective June 30th, 2024.

Chairman Johns was appointed to the position by then Gov. John Bel Edwards on July 21, 2021. During his tenure as chairman, the gaming industry has seen two of the fifteen legacy riverboat licenses become first class land based properties with another three properties under construction right now.

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His first order of business after taking over as chairman was to develop the rules and regulations for the rollout of legalized Sports Wagering which had been approved by 55 of the 64 parishes in a statewide referendum in 2020 and then formally approved by the Louisiana Legislature in 2021. That process took a number of months of diligence and work and the final approval for retail Sports Wagering was given by the board in November of 2021 and then for mobile Sports Wagering in late January of 2022. For the past months, Chairman Johns has worked with all parties involved in implementing mandated human trafficking training in all casinos, the racetrack casinos, and all video poker truck stop casinos across the state. This program should be finalized and implemented in the third quarter of this year.

Chairman Johns said “It has been an incredible honor to serve in this very important position to regulate such a large industry in our state. I would like to thank former Gov. John Bel Edwards and present Gov.  Jeff Landry for having the faith in me to lead this regulatory body. I will leave the board knowing that I did my work as regulator with the integrity that it calls for with fairness to the industry but with absolute compliance of our strict gaming laws and rules that we must adhere to. I also want to thank the board members that I served with. They are a group of wonderful people with the highest of integrity. A special thank you to the Louisiana State Police Gaming Division and the Attorney General’s Office Gaming Division for their guidance, their advice, and their cooperation to all work together to make the Louisiana Gaming regulatory body one of the best in the country. And last, very special thank you to the staff at the board office for their hard work ethic, their willingness to go beyond the call of duty, and their commitment to the board and our citizens to help regulate the industry as it should be.”

He further commented “There comes a time in everyone’s life when they should step back and make their family the number one priority. I have arrived at that point and my wife, daughter and son-in-law, and five grandchildren will now be my focus in life. My wife and I plan to travel, chase our grandkids from ballpark to ballpark, school events, and wherever life’s journey takes them. We also plan on doing some charity work in Lafayette where we now reside.”

Chairman Johns leaves with over 37 years of public service including a term on the Bunkie City Council, the Louisiana State Mineral Board, the Louisiana Workers Compensation Board, Chairman of the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, twelve years in the Louisiana House of Representatives, and ten years in the Louisiana State Senate.