The bills 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 bills were already one month old.
Palm Beach Post reported that the lawmakers pulled the plug on the measures at the 11th hour over the weekend. Gambling, according to state legislators, remains one of the most difficult issues they face 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 showed 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 other options.
Analysts predicted that the latest gambling bill would 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 discuss the state budget.
Still, members of the Senate and House of Representatives attempted to save the dying gambling bills 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.
Negron and Corcoran extended the legislative session until 11:59 p.m. Sunday in order to accommodate all pending bills, including the gambling bill, on their desks.
But 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.