Florida Gaming Control Commission hires top DBPR gambling regulator as Executive Director

dice throw on craps table at casino
The commission was created last May during a Special Session.

Florida’s Gaming Control Commission held its first formal meeting Thursday and hired Louis Trombetta, Director of the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, as its Executive Director.

Trombetta, who has served in that role at DBPR for two years and previously served as counsel for the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering since 2013, was selected among three finalists for the position. He beat out Monica Rutkowski, who worked as deputy director for the Department of Economic Opportunity’s office of strategic planning and emergency response, and Krista Woodard, Executive Director for DBPR overseeing the agency’s numerous professional boards.

Commission Chair Julie Brown said Trombetta’s experience in gaming and legal issues would help the new agency get off the ground and aid the transition of much of the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering’s 109 staffers to the new commission.

“When we’re talking about culture, I think that is an important facet — keeping the current culture of the existing staff also up with the new vision of the future,” Brown said. “Having gaming experience is helpful. Having legal experience, knowing that rulemaking is going to be a critical component of this commission is another critical component.”

The commission was created last May during a Special Session, when lawmakers passed a new Gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In a separate bill, the commission was established to regulate the gambling activities in the state.

But the extent of the commission’s oversight is already up in the air, thanks to legal challenges to the compact. A federal judge struck down the compact in November, including the legalization of sports betting in Florida. Under federal law, sports betting must be confined to tribal lands, but the compact attempted to allow the Tribe to accept bets made via cell phone applications, since they would be processed by servers on tribal grounds. The judge rejected that argument, but the ruling is being appealed.

Although the ruling struck down the entire compact, the Ron DeSantis administration believes the portions unrelated to sports betting can remain intact.

And despite the law creating the commission requiring all five of its members to be appointed by Jan. 1, DeSantis has only named three members.

Trombetta’s first task is to hire more people. He was the commission’s second hire. The panel approved advertising for three other key positions: General Counsel, head of administration and information technology director.

“It really is a great opportunity to make a difference for the state,” Trombetta said.

Gray Rohrer


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