Florida Has New Racing Regulator

Milton Champion is the new head of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation recently appointed Milton Champion director of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

Champion began the job Jan. 4. Since 2006, he had been chief of the Florida DPMW’s Office of Slot Operations. He previously worked in the gaming industry for 19 years, including three as director of security at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.

The Florida DPMW regulates state’s Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Greyhound tracks, and jai-alai frontons. That includes rule-making, licensing, investigations, other oversight, and hearings regarding jockey and trainer suspensions.

Champion succeeds David Roberts, who last July resigned as Florida DPMW director. Roberts, who held that post for eight years, said his resignation was amicable, but he did not cite reasons. Joseph Dillmore, the Florida DPMW’s deputy director, had been serving as interim director.

As the Florida DPMW’s chief of slot machine operations, Champion headed an office that regulates installation of slots, operations of those machines, and overall operations at casinos at pari-mutuel facilities.

Broward and Miami-Dade are the only Florida counties that can have casinos with Las Vegas-style slot machines. Gulfstream Park is one of four pari-mutuel facilities that have casinos. Calder Casino & Race Course plans to open a casino in late January.

Champion also has worked at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., and at the Oneida Indian Nation’s Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y.

The Florida DPMW has about 200 employees. It has a headquarters in Tallahassee and regional offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Champion said his goals include developing methods for quicker action on rule-making and on administrative requests.

“This is an industry that operates 24 hours a day for 365 days each year,” he said. “There are changes and demands, and we need to be able to respond and act.”