Despite court ruling, Gov. DeSantis to move ahead with gambling compact and commission

Florida’s new law legalizing sports betting was rejected last month, though a new gambling oversight board passed as part of a string of new laws to coincide with the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe is moving forward anyway.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday appointed three members to the five-member Florida Gaming Control Commission: Julie Brown, the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, whom he named as chair; Michael Yaworsky, a Tallahassee attorney; and Charles Drago, a former Fort Lauderdale police officer who later served as chief of police in Oviedo.

The governor named Melanie Griffin, a lawyer at the Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick firm, to take over as head of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation after Brown’s exit.

Griffin is the owner of a company that “provides speaking and professional training services and designs, manufactures and sells inspirational products and gifts,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The appointments will take effect Jan. 1, the governor’s office said. DeSantis’ first appointments to the gambling commission rely heavily on people who have experience with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees industries such as alcohol, tobacco and until Jan. 1st gambling.

The department also handles licensing and regulation for a wide range of professions, including barbers, cosmetologists and real estate agents.

The commissioners, who will be paid an annual salary of $131,136, will have regulatory oversight of all aspects of gambling throughout Florida, including “gaming compacts executed by the state,” according to the law. The law also said the commission will review rules and regulations promulgated by the Seminoles for the operation of sports betting.

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