05/04/2017 9:00AM

Florida gambling bills fail when conference committee is dissolved


An effort to pass legislation in Florida dramatically altering the state’s gambling landscape died on Tuesday when legislators dissolved a conference committee that was set up to resolve the vast differences between bills that passed separately in the House and the Senate.

The effort was considered a longshot due to the widely different intentions of the competing bills. The Senate had passed a bill that would have potentially allowed for a large number of new casinos in the state, including at existing horse and dog tracks, while the House passed a bill that largely left the state’s gambling footprint unchanged except for the approval of a new compact with the Seminole Tribe.

The Senate bill would have also allowed most parimutuel facilities to drop their live racing operations while still operating casinos, a process known as “decoupling.” Lobbyists for Gulfstream Park, which is owned by The Stronach Group, had pushed for provisions that would have required casinos at decoupled tracks to provide subsidies to the Thoroughbred racing industry.

This is the second year in a row that gambling legislation has failed to pass in the Florida legislature. The effort is expected to be renewed in 2018.