The legal battle related to greatly profitable designated-player card games at pari-mutuel facilities across the state of Florida is to be continued soon. It came to the knowledge of Casino Guardian that the matter is scheduled to be heard in September by a local appeals court.
The appeal was filed by Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which is responsible for regulation and monitoring of local gambling venues. The Department is now challenging a ruling issued in 2016 by E. Gary Early, an Administrative Law Judge. In his decision from August 2016, Judge Early said that the way the so-called designated-player card games are being operated in a way that violates the ban on “banked” card games that had been imposed by the state.
According to notice which was published on an online court list with pending cases for trial, the 1st District Court of Appeal is set to host the appeal’s hearing on September 12th.
Designated-player games have been a controversial topic despite the fact they have been quite popular with local players. One of the main reason why these games have been so widely discussed is the way they have been regulated and conducted.
First launched in 2012, the designated-player games have quickly become attractive to players. At present times, such games are offered by almost every pari-mutuel operator that owns a casino in the state of Florida.
As mentioned above, the last year’s ruling of Judge E. Gary Early scolded the way these games are conducted and regulated, with the Judge saying that the state was also guilty for not replacing the regulations for the games. At the time, the Florida gaming industry and local regulators claimed that in case the 2014 rule was eliminated, the provision of such games on the territory of the state would also be ended. According to operators, that would strip the state of an annual revenue of approximately $87 million.
In late 2015, local regulators came up with a possible solution, making a proposal to get rid of the rule. According to Florida regulatory authorities, only the way designated-player card games were being conducted and not the games themselves, contradicted to the state’s gambling legislation.
According to the ruling that was announced in August 2016, the popular card games had been played in violation to state’s gambling laws for over four years. The issue, however, has been somehow left unnoticed until the local Seminole Tribe and Florida’s state officials reached a gambling deal. At that time, state regulators tried to suspend the games, which led to state-wide controversy over the designated-player card games.
After the Judge posted his ruling in August, in September 2016 the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation took the first step towards an appeal of this ruling and filed a notice in the 1st District Court of Appeal.