Former Louisiana gaming chief Ronnie Jones is free to take an advisory role with Entain Group after being given the green light by state authorities.
Jones is set to take up his role on Entain’s advisory board, along with other former regulators from several US states, after asking for legal clarification from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB), of which he was chair for seven years from 2013 to June 2000.
The role will see Jones and others advise the company on best practices relating to gaming regulatory policies in the US as well as regulatory and gaming issues.
Jones contacted Louisiana Ethics Administration Program (LEAP) for clarification and guidance in the autumn as to post-employment prohibitions just months after the state senate refused to confirm his reappointment for a new six-year term.
LEAP found that Jones was not prohibited from taking up the role, although he is not able to assist what was formerly GVC Holdings – which operates BetMGM with MGM Resorts – in any matters relating to the LGCB for two years after departing his role under regulation La RS 421121A.
Sports betting is currently illegal in Louisiana, but after a confirmatory public vote last year, lawmakers are set to debate the details of legalising it in this spring’s session.
In his enquiry, Jones said: “I had absolutely no interaction or relations with [Entain] while I was on the board at any time nor was the entity licensed to conduct business in Louisiana during my term of service.
“Indeed, as of this date the entity has not been licensed in Louisiana nor is there a pending application for licensure in this state. Moreover, during my seven-year term on the board I had no communications directly or indirectly with any employee agent or representative who during that time was associated with the entity.”
During more than three decades in public service in the state, Jones managed the original legislation which legalised gambling in Louisiana in 1992. Governor John Bel Edwards appointed Lieutenant Colonel Mike Noel to replace Jones last June.
Louisiana voted to legalise betting in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes through praish-by-parish referenda on November 3, following the passage of Senate Bill 130, authored by Senator Cameron Henry.