Chris Sprowls: ‘Nobody has asked me if they could be on the Gaming Commission’
Chris Sprowls shephered a plan to protect universities from COVID-19 lawsuits. Image via Colin Hackley.

Some lawmakers lamented the new commission is a 'legislative retirement package.'

House Speaker Chris Sprowls refuted speculation Wednesday that nepotism motivated the removal of a provision that would’ve delayed the pathway for an outgoing public official to join the state’s soon-to-come gaming commission.

The proposal to create a gaming commission (SB 4A) — passed Wednesday in the House — is a major component of the state’s new gambling expansion agreement with the Seminole Tribe.

It would create the Florida Gaming Control Commission and crown it Florida’s lead law enforcement agency on gambling.

Speculation around the commission began Tuesday after Republican Sen. Travis Hutson, the bill sponsor, introduced an amendment that removed language barring elected officials from serving on the commission for at least two years after they leave office.

Speaking Wednesday, Sprowls told reporters neither he nor staff spoke with legislators about interest in joining the commission.

“I do love how speculation on the commission has already begun and literally the ink is not even dry on the bill,” Sprowls said at a press conference. “No, nobody has asked me if they could be on the Gaming Commission. Nobody has asked me to advocate for them or a family member or a friend or a neighbor to be on the game commission.”

While some lawmakers decried the prospective commission as a “legislative retirement package” and a “cush job” during debate, others, including Sprowls, defended the amendment, arguing other legislators have moved on to different commissions without objection.

“How is that different in this circumstance?” Sprowls said. “I’m not sure there’s a good answer to that. So, I think it was the desire of the members to make it consistent.”

Under the measure, the five-member committee — which must include an experienced lawyer, accountant and law enforcement member — would have criminal justice authority over gaming laws and pari-mutuel institutions such as card rooms and horse racing.

According to a staff analysis, the members would earn $136,000 per year, an amount based on the salaries of other public service commissions.

All appointments would be subject to Senate confirmation.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.

One comment

  • PeterH

    May 20, 2021 at 2:22 pm



    Florida Republicans passed a bill yesterday to enable Trump to use his failing Doral Country Club as a gambling casino.
    The Doral club / future casino boondoggle is located WEST of the Miami airport ….. many miles and hours away from the tourist enclave of South Beach and Miami Beach in general.
    So here we go again ….. advancing and enabling yet another Trump bankruptcy at taxpayer expense.

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