UPDATE: Florida Destination Gambling Bill Takes First Step, Has a Long Path Ahead

Casino Watch Focus reported that the Florida Gambling Bill had faced enough obstacles and opposition, that the bill’s author, Senator Bogdanoff, made an incredible amount of revisions and gambling expansions, in an attempt to bring as many people on board as possible. As originally expected, the Florida Senate was the likely starting ground for the bill to take hold.  The Sunshine State news is reporting that he bill has passed the first step, a small Senate committee, but it still has a long way to go:

A proposal to create a statewide gaming commission and allow voters to approve up to three mega casinos cleared its first hurdle Monday in the Florida Senate.  However, the odds appear to have grown longer against the success of the bill. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee voted 7-3 on Monday in support of the Destination Gaming bill.

In voting against the bill, SB 710, Sen. Charles Dean, R-Inverness, said the bill reaches “too far” and “too fast” in expanding gaming in Florida.  Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, added that the bill doesn’t fit with the image many have of Florida.

“This doesn’t fit into our scheme of what we want to be and what we want to represent as a family friend destination,” Altman said.

The Sunshine State news goes on to explain that the next step is for the bill to go before the Rules Committee and that might take extra political pressure.  The silence of the House on the issue will also play a major role:

Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, called the bill too vague for an unelected gaming commission to interpret and would create an expansion of gaming across the state.

Thrasher’s objection, which wasn’t unexpected, places a potential barrier for the bill reaching the Senate floor.

He added after the meeting that he currently has no plan — unless Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, asks — to put the bill before his Rules Committee.

The bill must go before the Rules Committee if it clears its next stop before the Senate Budget Committee.

“We haven’t had the first indication from the House if they have any interest in this bill yet,” Thrasher said.  “So I have a feeling this bill will slow down dramatically until we see some movement, if any, from the House.”

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