How the Gambling Industry Impacts Louisiana

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Once again, Georgia lawmakers have decided not to allow Georgia voters to decide whether or not to legalize gambling or sports betting.

Voters in Louisiana have approved gambling in their state, and it’s now underway there.

Jim Wallace of WALB spoke to Louisiana Gaming Board Chairman Ronnie Johns about how gaming works for their state now.

“What kind of impact did he have there?” Wallace asked.

“Jim, it’s been a huge success for us so far. This process dates back to 2020, when we held a statewide referendum. Voters in Louisiana had the opportunity to vote on that,” Johns said.

“The benefits to the state, obviously revenue, sports betting taxes, plus jobs.”

“More jobs, a considerable amount of jobs. We have 15 what we call “river boat licenses” in Louisiana. We have the great land-based casino in New Orleans. And then we have four pari-mutuel racetracks. So we have 20 entities that are building, now sports betting. Some of them have been kind of temporary in nature so far. But some of our properties have spent 5, 6, 7 million dollars to build very nice sportsbooks. But we get a lot of activity from the state of Texas here because they don’t have legalized gambling in the state of Texas,” Johns said. “We are getting a tremendous amount of influx from the state of Texas as well as other states as well. But we look forward to substantial revenues in our state budget from this. Early childhood education will be one of the real winners for the state of Louisiana. The legislature has dedicated 25% of all sports betting revenue to early childhood education. We know very well where the money is going.

“So do you think you could be a role model for states like Georgia to continue to consider this gambling industry in the future?” Wallace asked.

“We do. We feel like we’re doing it the right way. But 65% of people who voted in the referendum said yes, we want sports betting. So we gave that. We gave them a good product. We gave them a safe product. And I’m very proud of how we did that,” Johns replied.

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