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Florida Gambling Operators Oppose Proposed Card Game Changes

floridaSeveral gambling operators in Florida are joining hands to challenge the State’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s proposal to repeal a law governing designated player games or banked card games.

The regulation governing these games was launched in 2012 and these games have become highly popular in cardrooms across the state.

Withdrawing approval for these games would result in significant loss of revenue, which industry analysts estimate to be around $87 million per year.

These games are at the heart of numerous controversies including a dispute between the Seminole Tribe and the State. A$3 billion compact was signed in December 2015 by Gov. Rick Scott with the Tribe which would have allowed them a monopoly over these games. This was however not approved by Legislature and thus has not yet come into effect. These banked card games are also a subject of a lawsuit between the tribe and the State.

A number of administrative complaints have also been filed against cardrooms across the state regarding the operation of these games. These complaints were filed a month before the department proposed to withdraw the rule.

Operators across Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Melbourne, Miami and others counties maintain that the department is changing the rule without following due process.

In a statement, John Lockwood, lawyer for half-dozen pari-mutuels said,

Our position is the only way they can change that interpretation is through rule-making. And that’s not what they’re doing here. Instead of embodying a new rule, they’re relying on a new policy that would prohibit the games previously approved

According to the regulatory authorities, the issue is not the games itself but the way they are being run. A banking game is defined under Florida law as one where the game has a bank either by the house being a direct participant or by creating a bank against which other participants play.

Recent testimonials given in a case against bestbet Jacksonville showed that there were designated players in card games who did not play but only sat in the games. This as per the Department of Business and Professional Regulation was equivalent to a bank and thus against the law.

The department’s lawyer William Hall stated that the reason for the withdrawal of the rules rather than an amendment was to receive guidance from the courts on the definition of banked games before issuing fresh laws.

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