EXCLUSIVE: How the gambling industry impacts Louisiana
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Once again, Georgia lawmakers have decided not to allow Georgia voters to decide on whether to legalize gambling or sports betting.
Louisiana voters approved gaming in their state, and it’s now underway there.
WALB’s Jim Wallace spoke to the Louisiana Gaming Board Chairman, Ronnie Johns, about how gambling is working for their state now.
“What kind of impact has it had there?” asked Wallace.
“Jim, it’s been a huge success for us so far. This process goes all the way back to 2020 when we had a statewide referendum. The voters of Louisiana had the opportunity to vote on this,” said Johns.
“The benefits to the state, obviously income, taxes off of the sports betting, plus jobs.”
“Plus jobs, a considerable amount of jobs. We have 15 what we call ‘riverboat licenses’ in Louisiana. We have the big land-based casino in New Orleans. And then we have four pari mutual racetracks. So we have 20 entities that are actually building, now sportsbooks. Some of those have kind of been of the temporary nature so far. But we have some of our properties have spent 5, 6, 7 million dollars building now very nice sportsbooks. But we get a lot of activity from the state of Texas over here because they have no legalized game in the state of Texas,” said Johns. “We get a tremendous amount of influx from the state of Texas as well as other states also. But we are looking forward to some substantial income into our state budget from this. One of the real winners in the state of Louisiana on this is going to be early childhood education. The legislature dedicated 25% of all the sports betting revenue to early childhood education. We feel very good about where the money is going to go.”
“So do you think you could be a model for states like Georgia, to still consider this gambling industry in the future?” Wallace asked.
“We do. We feel like we are doing it in the right way. But 65% of the people who voted during the referendum said yes, we want sports betting. So we have given that. We have given them a good product. We have given them a safe product. And I’m very proud of how we’ve done it,” replied Johns.
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