Things continue coming together for the Florida Gaming Control Commission, which publicly released its mission statement in September.
“Preserve and protect the integrity of gaming activities through fair regulation, licensing, effective criminal investigation, and enforcement.”
Four concepts had more similarities than differences
The Florida Gaming Control Commission was created in 2021 by the Florida Legislature to oversee the commercial gaming market. However, the commission has no authority over the state lottery or tribal gaming.
Initially, the commission published four concepts within its mission. Then, Commissioner Chuck Drago proposed a statement encompassing all four concepts, and the five-member commission agreed to make it official.
The four preliminary concepts centered around regulating licensed wagering and also enforcing laws around illegal gambling activities. The four concepts were:
- Regulate licensed gaming fairly and enforce criminal gambling prohibitions throughout the state
- Regulate lawful gaming and address unlawful gambling throughout the state
- Investigate and target illegal gambling while regulating licensed gaming
- Support safe gaming activities by regulating lawful activity while investigating and targeting unlawful activity
After further review, Commission Chairman John MacIver pointed out that the concepts were similar.
“Commissioners, to me, all of these sound like different ways of saying kind of the same thing, which I think is something we’ve been saying all along.”
The fifth option wins over committee
MacIver stated that he appreciated all angles from the first four options but felt the “fifth” was the strongest.
That fifth option – to preserve and protect the integrity of gaming activities through fair regulation, licensing, effective criminal investigation, and enforcement – creates the best conditions for lawful operators to gain assistance and gives the commission the legal authority to target and bring down illegal gambling rings.
Commissioner Julie Brown echoed her support for the agreed-upon mission statement.
“I thought the concept more eloquently encapsulated all of the other four concepts together, so I support the fifth one.”
FGCC history and members
The state Senate proposed a bill in the spring of 2021 to create the committee within the Office of the Attorney General as an act related to gaming enforcement. It officially launched on July 1, 2022.
Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed five members at the end of 2021. He added Executive Director Louis Trombetta last March. The state Senate confirmed all appointees.
- Chairman John MacIver
- Vice Chairman Michael Yaworsky
- Julie Brown
- John D’Aquila
- Charles (Chuck) Drago
Among the committee, at least one member had to have experience in law enforcement, as a CPA and as an attorney authorized to practice law in Florida.
MacIver and Yaowrsky have legal experience. D’Aquila has over 35 years of experience with an active CPA license in Florida. Drago is a former police chief, also with more than 35 years of experience.
The makings of a legitimate agency
Four months into its existence, the committee is beginning to function as a legitimate agency. Its website allows operators to apply for and renew licenses and report fraud. Additionally, it has information on the commission’s pari-mutuel division, announcements and an upcoming meeting schedule.
Recently, the FGCC published its five-year economic plan, which will begin July 1, 2023, at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
As for meetings, the FGCC will be convening again on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 9:30 a.m. at the W.V. Knott Building at the Capitol Complex in Tallahassee. The meeting is open to the public.