New members named for Florida Gaming Control Commission

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis named the first three members of the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC).

US.- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to get sports betting and gambling regulation in the state moved forward by naming the first three members of the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC), a new panel that will oversee gaming in the state starting in 2022.

He has done this despite sports betting in Florida being suspended after Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that a compact under which the Seminole Tribe operates an online sports betting app for use anywhere in the state “violates” the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

The three appointees now awaiting approval by the state Senate are Julie Imanuel Brown, Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary; Michael Yaworksy, Office of Insurance Regulation Chief of Staff and Charles Drago, a former law enforcement officer.

The commission’s role is spelled out clearly by Senate Bill 4: “In addition to having regulatory authority over the state’s tribal gaming compacts, the newly created commission will also oversee pari-mutuel operators, cardrooms, slot parlors and other forms of gaming allowed by the state constitution, excluding the Florida Lottery.”

Under the law passed by the Legislature, one of the members of the gaming commission must have at least 10 years of experience in law enforcement and criminal investigations, while another must be a certified public accountant with a decade of experience in auditing and accounting. Another member must be an attorney who has practiced in Florida for at least the previous 10 years.

The law also said the commission will review rules and regulations promulgated by the Seminoles for the operation of sports betting.

See also: Florida casino expansion will go to the ballot in 2022

Seminole Tribe sports betting app suspended

In December, the Seminole Tribe of Florida shut down its Hard Rock sports betting app after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision that the tribe’s compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

On November 22, US District Court Judge Friedrich ruled that sports betting can be offered via a smartphone or laptop only on tribal lands. She concluded that the compact signed between the tribe and Governor Ron DeSantis should never have been approved by the US Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.

The Seminole Tribe appealed the decision and continued to take wagers through the app, but on Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit followed Friedrich’s decision. The tribe turned off its online sports betting app on Saturday.

Seminole Tribe spokesperson Gary Bitner said: “Despite the decision, the Seminole Tribe looks forward to working with the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice to aggressively defend the validity of the 2021 Compact before the Appeals Court, which has yet to rule on the merits of the 2021 Compact.”

Seminole Tribe chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. estimated that the company invested more than $25m to launch the sportsbook. It expected to spend another $20m before the end of the year.

See also: Judge denies Seminole Tribe’s request for stay on sports betting ruling

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