Florida lawmakers pull the plug (again) on gambling bill
The bill that would have paved the way for gambling expansion in the state of Florida died on Friday after a long bout with legislative impasse. The bill was already a month-old.
Palm Beach Post reported that the lawmakers pulled the plug on the measure after it reached the 11th hour over the weekend. Gambling, according to state legislators, remained to be one of the most difficult issues they faced as a legislative body.
“Despite the good faith efforts of both the House and Senate, a gaming bill will not pass the Legislature this session,” Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran said in a joint statement.
Similar to what happened in the previous years, Florida’s House of Representatives has shown less enthusiasm about gambling expansion from the very beginning.
Florida’s Senate, on the other hand, approved a broad gambling measure that would allow slots in greyhound and horseracing tracks in eight counties and daily fantasy sports operations, among others—as long as it gets the electorate’s blessing.
Analysts have earlier predicted that the latest gambling bill will not prosper, especially at a time when lawmakers are scrambling to issue a legislative response to the February 14 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to squeeze discussions on the state budget.
Still, members of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives attempted to save the dying gambling bill last week.
On Thursday, members of the House reached out to the Senate to make a concession on the issue of slots and agreed to allow slots in three counties where voters have approved them. The negotiations, however, didn’t work out between the two legislative chambers.
Both Negron and Corcoran have also extended the legislative session until 11:59 p.m. Sunday in order to accommodate all pending bills, including the gambling bill, on their desks.
A gambling insider told Florida Politics that “the House offer was too cute. Joe (Negron) wasn’t having it.”
“He was willing to extend gaming conference over the weekend, but the last House offer killed it. So we’re done,” the unnamed source added.
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