Christopher Hebert Named Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman

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Christopher Hebert Named Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman
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Christopher Hebert, a longtime assistant attorney general in Louisiana, has been named chairman of the state Gaming Control Board.

Hebert is the first African American to be named the board's chairman, Gov. Jeff Landry noted in a statement on Monday.

Hebert, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, has served for 19 years as an assistant attorney general in Louisiana. For the previous eight years, he has been director of the attorney general’s Gaming Division. Before being appointed director, Hebert served as section chief of the Litigation and Adjudications Sections.

Landry, a Republican former attorney general now serving his first term as governor, said Hebert (pronounced A-bear) “has the experience and background needed to properly regulate such a large industry.”

“I look forward to the great work he will do for our state and our economy,” Landry said.

Major Issues Face New Chairman

Ronnie Johns, a Republican former state senator from the Lake Charles area, is resigning as Gaming Control Board chairman at the end of June. In a wide-ranging interview on Gambling.com’s “The Edge” last week, Johns said he has spoken with the incoming chairman about issues facing the board. 

Former Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, appointed Johns to the chairmanship three years ago.

Among other matters, Johns, 75, said on the “The Edge” that Louisiana could expect a 50% reduction in revenue if next-door neighbor Texas legalizes commercial casinos and sports betting. However, Johns said he doubts gaming expansion will occur in Texas until the 2030s because of resistance from anti-gaming lawmakers and others.

During the interview, available below, Johns also said he expects a public vote to occur within the next several years to legalize sports betting in some of the nine Louisiana parishes where it currently is outlawed.

On Monday, Johns told Gambling.com Louisiana is fortunate to have Hebert "taking over this most important role."

"I have worked closely with Chris for the past three years, and he is highly qualified for the position," Johns said. "His integrity is greatly respected throughout the country among regulators. His knowledge of the industry and the regulatory process is vast."

Issues Facing New Chairman

Hebert Vows An Industry ‘Free From Criminal And Corrupt Elements’

In the statement from the governor’s office, Landry noted that Hebert, while with the attorney general’s office, assisted the Gaming Control Board “in creating the regulations which govern sports wagering in Louisiana.”

Louisiana is one of 38 states with states with mobile sports betting. Sports wagering also is legal in Washington, D.C.

Landry said the newly named chairman was instrumental in creating the Problem Gambling Resource Services program “to bring awareness to the legal community about problem gambling and the free gambling treatment services available for all Louisiana residents.”

Hebert, a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law and the National Council on Problem Gambling, said the 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."

"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 said. "We will continue to regulate in a fair manner which ensures that our gaming licensees are able to operate in an environment that generates healthy revenue for the state through economic development.”

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