When a bill relating to horse racing is filed in the Florida House of Representatives, it’s certain to be heard by the Gaming Control Subcommittee—one of the five subcommittees under the powerful Florida House Commerce Committee.
Chaired by State Representative David Santiago, a Republican representing House District 27 from Volusia County, the Gaming Control Subcommittee will usually be stop number one for any pari-mutuel, casino, Florida Lottery or Seminole Tribe-related legislation. Once it passes the Gaming Control Subcommittee, gambling-related legislation is often referred to the Commerce Committee, on which Representative Santiago also sits this year—making him a powerful point of contact for horsemen throughout the Session.
(Under most circumstances, bills are referred by the House Speaker for review and a vote by various committees. Generally, a bill laden with committee references indicates a lower likelihood of its chances for passage. But should the bill survive, it proceeds to the Floor—meaning a vote by the entire House.)
A financial manager by profession, Representative Santiago was first elected to the House in 2012, whereupon he served two consecutive Sessions as Deputy Majority Whip. He formerly served his home community of Deltona as City Commissioner from 2003 to 2007.
District 27, which is home to a significant Puerto Rican population, is also home to (the former) Daytona Beach Kennel Club and two other pari-mutuel permits, including Debary Real Estate Holdings—the subject of litigation relating to Gretna pari-mutuel barrel racing.
In addition to Chairing the Gaming Control Subcommittee and membership on the Commerce Committee, Representative Santiago sits on the following committees:
Learn more about Representative Santiago here.