$25 Million Proposed to Start Florida’s Gambling Commission

As Florida is yet to receive an official launch date for sports betting, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has a proposition worth $25 million to start up the agency that is supposed to regulate gambling in the state.

The Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) was established during a Special Session on gaming this year, where an agency that is dedicated to gambling-related issues will enforce the necessary laws. The measure was approved by Governor Ron DeSantis back in May.

This Agency Requires Millions of Dollars in Order to Operate

Julie Brown, the DBPR Secretary, informed House budget panel members that apart from the $14 million that will be transferred from the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, the agency will need an additional $10 million to cover staffing needs and the Division of Gaming Enforcement, as well as the process of training for 15 law enforcement officers among other things. Brown’s agency is under the purview of DeSantis.

Previously, the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering was under DBPR’s wing, but the new FGCC will be under the wing of the Attorney General’s Office, which is separated from the Governor’s Office as it is a Cabinet-level office.

Officials working at DBPR have also drawn an efficient agency that will be able to maintain the security and integrity of gaming, as stated by Brown. Cyndi Stevenson, the Chair of House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and a St. Johns Republican, stated that the department of Brown has been effective enough to provide a solid start for the agency.

Lawmakers have allocated $2 million this year for the FGCC in order to hire 15 staff members. According to the plan of DBPR, the agency will include a total of 180 full-time officials in which an inspector’s general office, five commissioners and an executive director are included.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement’s number of employees will be 20 and the Division of Administration’s number of employees will be 29, while the number of employees at the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering will remain the same – 109.

DeSantis faces a deadline to appoint the commissioners and the executive director. The deadline for the commissioners is the start of 2022, which is right around the corner, while the deadline for appointing an executive director is April 1, 2022.

Florida’s Budget Will Only Be Greater Than Mississippi’s

Although Florida’s budget of $25 million seems like a lot, the reality is that it will be bigger than Mississippi’s agency only ($8 million). Apart from these two, there are seven other gaming regulation commissions in the US. Michigan’s budget is $2 million bigger than Florida’s, while New York’s budget, which is the highest at $114 million, completely dwarves Florida’s. As for proposed employees, Florida is in the middle.

While developing its plan, DBPR shared notes with agencies from other states, including New Jersey and Nevada. Brown stated that, thanks to these conversations, it is likely that the requests that are being proposed will be enough to accomplish the goals of the Commission while also being fiscally prudent for the taxpayers in Florida.

Compared to the money that is expected to be generated in Florida with the gambling laws, the costs for the FGCC are just a tiny drop of water in a lake. In the next five years, the Seminole Tribe guarantees a $2.5 billion revenue as well as $6 billion through 2030; however, its gaming compact is facing a lot of lawsuits.

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