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Christopher Hebert appointed new Louisiana gaming chief

| By Jill R. Dorson
On Monday (24 June) Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry appointed Christopher Hebert as the state's new gaming chief. Former head regulator Ronnie Johns announced his retirement earlier this year and 30 June will be his last day.
Hebert appointed LGCB

Hebert was a director handling gaming in the attorney-general’s office. In that role, he worked closely with Johns, who retires as one of the most influential figures in Louisiana gaming. Herbert is the first black man to be named chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB), according to a press release from Landry’s office.

“Proper regulation of the gaming industry is crucial at a time in which gaming revenue continues to be a substantial part of our state’s economy,” Herbert said via press release. “I am both humbled and honored that Governor Landry has tapped me as the first African-American chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control board and I vow to continue the hard work of previous chairmen in ensuring that gaming is free from criminal and corrupt elements.”

Hebert experienced in gaming matters

Hebert takes over from Johns, who was in place when legal digital sports betting launched in Louisiana in January 2022. In his role with the AG’s office, Hebert worked closely with the LGCB on gambling issues. He was a key player in developing regulations around legal wagering, as well as launching digital sports betting.

“He is a great asset to the gaming industry and regulatory community,” Mississippi regulator Jay McDaniel told iGB. “As a neighbouring gaming jurisdiction, we have often collaborated on issues and Chris has always been helpful and responsive any time I’ve worked with him. He has shown great leadership in his role as director in the attorney-general’s office.”

Louisiana has had brick-and-mortar casinos since the early 1990s. In 2020, voters legalised retail and digital sports betting in 55 parishes via ballot initiative.

“Chris served us well as counsel to the board,” former Louisiana regulator Ronnie Jones told iGB. “I would be hard pressed to find another person who has the knowledge base that Chris has on gaming regulation in the State of Louisiana. Beyond that he brings absolute integrity to the process. He is well known around the country by other regulators and their staffs and is respected by all.”

Experience, background a perfect match

Louisiana has more than 20 physical casinos and, under the sports betting law, can have up to 21 wagering platforms. Sports betting operators must be tethered to existing casinos or horse race tracks.

“I am proud to announce the appointment of Christopher Hebert as the chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board,” Landry said via press release. “He has the experience and background needed to properly regulate such a large industry.”

When casino gambling was first legalised, all Louisiana casinos except for the Harrah’s in New Orleans’ French Quarter were required to be on riverboats. State law and regulations have since changed and the LGCB is helping to oversee relocations.

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