The Department of Business and Professional Regulation in Florida are looking to drop a regulation that governs banked card games or designated player games but a number of gambling operators in the state have opposed the move and want the regulation which has been in effect since 2012 to continue to remain operational.
The regulation in question governs these card games which have become increasingly popular at pari-mutuel facilities in Florida and is estimated to generate around $87 million each year. Gambling establishments in Miami, Jacksonville, Melbourne and West Palm Beach have requested the courts to not do away with the regulation as it would have a negative impact on pari-mutuel gaming in the state.
These banked card games have created quite a lot of controversy even before regulators decided that it was better to remove the regulation. The state and the Seminole Tribe are currently in a legal dispute over these games and a number of complaints have been filed in an administrative challenge against gambling operators who conduct these games.
John Lockwood, the legal counsel for a number of pari-mutuels presented his case before Administrative Law Judge Gary Early on July 19 and claimed that the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering had violated the stipulated process in attempting to change its policy concerning banked card games. Lockwood stated that the Division should have made a new rule if they wanted to bring in change instead of trying to introduce a new policy that looked to bank games that were already approved in the first place.
State gaming regulators continue to push for the regulation to be dropped highlighting the fact that they do not have any concerns with the games but rather with the way the games are being conducted. Their biggest concern remains over the fact that pari-mutuels who conduct these banked card games do so by operating as a ‘bank’ which is not allowed under Florida gaming law.
William Hall, the lawyer for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation recently addressed a complaint involving the bestbet Jacksonville where the facility was accused of operating as a ‘bank’ while offering banked card games.
In a statement, Hall said “We are not saying DPGs (designated player games) cannot be offered. If they’re played in a non-banking manner, have a great time. I hope they make a ton of money playing designated player games in a non-banking manner. I hope all the patrons have a fantastic time doing that. Just don’t play them in a banking manner, same with any other card game.”
Florida gaming law states that any regulation which has an impact of over $1 million for five consecutive years must get approval from the Legislature before it can be dropped.