Louisiana Senate Removes Gaming Board Chairman

  • State senators elected to not confirm Ronnie Jones's reappointment on the session's final day
  • Nearly every other position was reconfirmed; Jones was blindsided by the decision
  • Governor John Bel Edwards expressed his disappointment in Jones's removal
Politicians raising hands
Ronnie Jones is out as chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control board after state senators decided to not reconfirm his appointment. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update: Gov. John Bel Edwards has named Mike Noel as the Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s new chairman. Noel, currently chief of staff to the Louisiana State Police Superintendent, was appointed in his new role on Wednesday, 48 hours after the removal of Ronnie Jones.

Senators do not support reappointment

On the last day of Louisiana’s regular legislative session, state senators removed the chairman of the state’s gambling regulatory board.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board chairman Ronnie Jones was one of 11 people who did not receive reappointment confirmation to government board or agency positions on Monday. 

did not publicly offer reasons for why certain people were not approved

Senators discussed the reappointments during an executive session behind closed doors and did not publicly offer reasons for why certain people were not approved. Instead, a list of confirmed appointees was simply released without Jones’s name. 

Shocked by the decision

“It was a total surprise to me,” Jones said, explaining that he received a phone call from a Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee staffer who informed him that he had not been reappointed. Louisiana state Senators are usually extended a privilege to block the appointment confirmations of people from their home districts to different commissions and boards, but again, no reason was given for Jones’s rejection.

I respect the process, but I don’t think it serves the citizens of the state very well.”

Jones lives in the New Orleans district of Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who serves as the Louisiana Democratic Party chairperson. Peterson did not provide any comment on the matter because of the confidentially of the confirmation process. 

“I respect the process, but I don’t think it serves the citizens of the state very well,” Jones added.

Two Gaming Control Board members did manage to get their appointments approved. Nine people make up the board in total, each serving six-year terms.

End of an era

Jones was originally appointed as chairman of the board by former Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. He was then reappointed last July by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. 

Jones was a member of the state police for over three decades and played a key part in rolling out video poker and riverboat casino licenses in the 1990s.

Governor Edwards said of the end of Jones’s service: “I am deeply disappointed that Ronnie Jones was not confirmed after his decades of service and experience in gaming regulation.”

It is now up to Governor Edwards to replace Jones. His candidate can serve for an interim period before going through the Senate confirmation process during the 2021 regular legislative session.