07/31/2001 11:00PM

Florida names new wagering director


MIAMI - Dave Roberts has been named new director for the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, replacing Paul Kirsch, who was promoted to director of the Division of Regulations.

Roberts, 39, had served the division for the last two years as director of Legislative Affairs. He has little racing experience other than having worked with the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering on some legislative matters. No date has been set for Roberts to assume leadership of the DPMW, although a spokesman for the division said it is likely to be on or around Sept. 1.

"I am extremely, deeply disappointed at the news that Paul Kirsch will no longer head up the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering," said Kent Stirling, executive director for the Florida Division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, who has worked closely with Kirsch during the two years since he took over the directorship.

"We made an enormous amount of progress during his tenure. This means bringing in someone new and taking the time to get them up to speed on all the issues.

Florida's horsemen, said Stirling, "just don't know where we stand now."