Discussion of last Florida Legislative Session and prediction for next Session; Geller speaks at NCLGS Conference in Minneapolis on Sports Gaming

I haven’t posted for a while because the Legislature was in Committee Meetings or Session, and I didn’t want to write anything that could conflict with the positions of any clients or potential clients.  I’ve still been active, and I’ll bring you up to date now.

The Florida Legislature last year tried to pass comprehensive gambling legislation, with the emphasis on Sports Betting.  Senate President Bill Galvano was once again the main driver of gambling legislation, based on his outstanding knowledge in this area.  Remember that Galvano is a former President of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), an organization where I also served as President. Galvano prepared the legislation, and then largely turned it over to one of his closest confidants, Senator Wilton Simpson, who is scheduled to succeed Galvano as Senate President.  President Galvano consulted with me on his proposed Legislation, and told several reporters and editors that I was his chief advisor on this Legislation.

The passage of comprehensive gambling legislation is always difficult, and this year was no exception.  There were too many competing interests (as usual), and, as I predicted, it’s been made more complicated by the passage of the Constitutional Amendment last November (Amendment Three, Voter Control of Gambling).  It’s still not clear what’s the actual effect of Amendment Three . The Seminole Tribe has suspended their payments to the State of Florida while indicating a willingness to continue talking.  It’s still unclear if the Florida Legislature will sue the Governor based on the last Governor’s entering into a Compact with the Tribe without Legislative approval.  Remember that the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Rubio vs. Crist that Indian Gaming Compacts could be negotiated by a Governor, but require ratification by the Legislature.  Former Governor Scott entered into a compact with the Seminole Tribe through the process of resolving litigation between the State and the Tribe.  This settlement has never been approved by the Legislature, and I believe that this renders any agreement at least subject to question.  One of the biggest issues in the Litigation was over “designated player games”, and that remained among the most contentious issues in last year’s proposed Legislation.

This year the Session begins in January instead of March, with Committee meetings beginning in September.  I’m sure that there will once again be gambling legislation, with Sports betting at the center of any such legislation.  I last spoke on the topic of Sports Gambling Legislation in Minneapolis on July 12 at a NCLGS conference.  I will publish my slightly edited remarks in the next day or two.  I also would like to invite anyone with an interest in the Seminole Gambling Compact to view my remarks in Gaming Law Review, Economics, Regulation, Compliance and Policy Volume 22, Issue 8, October 2018, pages 469-484.  https://www.liebertpub.com/toc/glr2/22/8 .  This is the text of a panel discussion for a meeting of the American Bar Association Business Law Section.

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