Florida Lawmakers Failed to Finalize Gambling Bills on Friday
Florida lawmakers allowed what may have been their last opportunity to sort out the state gambling landscape to pass them by last Friday. The state House and Senate failed to finalize a gambling package before time ran out in the legislative session.
Late Friday evening, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron declared yet another impasse for gambling negotiations and took the issue off the table. Though the legislative session was extended until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, the remainder of the weekend was dedicated to budget talks.
Corcoran and Negron released a joint statement on Friday night, saying they were “pleased with the progress made” but were still unable to pass a gaming bill before time ran out. The only progress they could be referring to would be a concession from the House that would have allowed three additional licenses for slot machine operators – far less than what the Senate was requesting.
Senator Bill Galvano blamed time lost dealing with other issues and the absence of tribal leaders from the negotiations as the reasons behind the legislature's inability to finalize a gambling bill.
Gambling negotiations were set aside at the beginning of March to address school safety legislation after the tragic mass shooting that took place on February 14 at a Broward County high school. Once the gambling was back on the table, leaders of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who own and operate Florida's most lucrative casino brand, Hard Rock, were unable to attend negotiations.