Louisiana Law Requires Casinos To Train Employees For Human Trafficking Prevention

August 18, 2023
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If it is not already, Louisiana is on its way to becoming the nation’s leader in the fight against human trafficking in casinos after passing a law requiring employees to be trained to detect and prevent trafficking in their facilities.

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If it is not already, Louisiana is on its way to becoming the nation’s leader in the fight against human trafficking in casinos after passing a law requiring employees to be trained to detect and prevent trafficking in their facilities.

Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed the anti-human trafficking bill into law on June 18 after it passed with overwhelming support in both chambers of the Louisiana legislature.

“We are now in the rulemaking stage and hopefully will roll it out in early 2024,” Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB), told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in an email on Thursday (August 17).

“We envision this to include all employees at the 16 casinos we have in Louisiana as well as every truck-stop casino which now stands at 198 statewide,” Johns said.

Before becoming LGCB chairman in July 2021, Johns was a Republican state senator who led efforts in the Louisiana legislature to crack down on human trafficking.

Johns said he was inspired to act after his conversation with Rev. Jeffery Bayhi, a priest in the state capital of Baton Rouge who administered the last rites to Mother Teresa.

Democratic state Senator Gary Smith Jr. of Louisiana wrote the human trafficking bill after it was proposed by the LGCB, Johns said.

“When I approached the [Louisiana gaming] industry about putting this into state law, they were immediately receptive and supported the bill throughout the process,” Johns said.

Ronnie Jones, a regulatory consultant who served as chairman of the LGCB from 2013 to 2020, said he was surprised the anti-trafficking law is also supported by the video poker industry which operates in about half of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

“While I know many states have rules or regulations requiring training [to prevent human trafficking], I am not aware of any state requiring training by law,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, a bill to legalize fixed-odds wagering on horse races via Louisiana sportsbooks died on the last day of the state’s legislative session on June 8 but Johns said he expects it to be resurrected in 2024.

Johns said the LGCB did not take a position on the fixed-odds bill but even without its passage, “we can now legally include fixed-odds racing into our sports-betting catalogue with this bill.”

“However, we have not had any request from any of the sports-betting platforms to do so,” Johns said. “There has been no interest in fixed-odds racing from the platforms.”

This year’s bill would have set aside a portion of the fixed-odds revenue for Louisiana’s horseracing industry, among other restrictions.

“Implementing it as we can today does not include that dedication,” Johns said.

Colorado and New Jersey are the only states which have legalized fixed-odds wagering via sports-betting platforms, and Colorado's market still has not launched.

One of the concerns about fixed-odds wagering is that it will reduce handle for pari-mutuel betting, which is the traditional method of wagering on horse races and typically sees a portion of all wagers allocated to racing and breeding interests.

Fixed-odds are locked in once a bet is placed on a race while the odds on pari-mutuel wagers can change drastically as post time approaches, especially if pool sizes are small.

Fixed-odds show much promise, but we need the larger jurisdictions like New York to get legislative approval,” said Dennis Drazin, who is a leading advocate of fixed-odds and manages Monmouth Park, a racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey.

“Assuming the larger tracks join the fixed-odds movement, U.S. handle will grow,” Drazin said.

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