Representative Dan Daley (Coral Springs) on Tuesday sent a letter to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Julie Imanuel Brown regarding Senate Bill 8-A, requesting a pause on the implementation of the bill. This legislation revises requirements for harness horse permit holders to conduct live racing or games.
Daley’s request to DBPR is predicated on the recent decision from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal on the Seminole Compact, which found that U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose agency oversees tribal gambling, was not in legal standing in allowing the compact to go into effect because it violates federal law. Since the Seminole Compact cannot carry out provisions passed by the Legislature until further litigation has taken place, Daley seeks to delay the provisions from going into effect.
“Senate Bill 8A puts the livelihood of five thousand people in the Florida agriculture industry out of work and subsequently, thousands more in Florida that derive income from the industry indirectly and will be negatively affected by this bill,” said Daley. “Given the current stay on the Seminole Compact the State should not enact SB 8A, we need to do all we can to ensure that people have the opportunity to continue to own and operate their small businesses in the state of Florida.”
In his letter, Daley argues that The Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association should be allowed to apply for a pari-mutuel permit and remain in existence while the Seminole Compact is inactive due to ongoing litigation.
Approximately 5,000 people are directly employed in the state of Florida between Standardbred breeding and racing, including drivers, owners, breeders, and trainers. Subsequently, thousands more in Florida derive income from the industry indirectly, including veterinarians, blacksmiths, grooms, supply shops, truckers, restaurants, and hotels that support visiting horsemen.
Florida is home to 62 standardbred farms and 7 training centers, and during peak season is home to more horses than in any other state.
Daley also said that he is considering filing legislation in the upcoming January session that would grant horsemen to apply for their own individual operating license allowing them to race from anywhere in the state, an act that would otherwise be prohibited by Senate Bill 8-A.
A federal judge ruled in November that the Compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is in violation of federal law, declaring that the ability to place bets from anywhere in the state through a Seminole Tribe betting app violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that allows betting only on tribal lands.
While federal regulators approved the Compact, it was met with a litany of legal challenges and opposition, including challenges from No Casinos, a group that successfully passed a constitutional amendment restricting new gaming expansions in the state without voter approval.
The 30-year gaming compact would have allowed the Seminoles exclusive rights to online sports betting in Florida, as well as expanded gaming privileges, in exchange for at least $2.5 billion over the first five years.