Casino Bill Dies in Florida House

If you were a betting man, hopefully you were betting that a bill to bring three full-service, Las Vegas-style casinos to South Florida wouldn't pass this year. You'd be cashing in right now.

The bill has died in the Florida House, after Rep. Erik Fresen, the Republican from Miami who is sponsoring the bill in the House, failed to cobble together enough votes to pass the bill out of the Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee. That, of course, does not mean he won't try again next year.

The panel declined to even vote on the bill today, and Rep. Doug Holder, a Sarasota Republican, says that the committee will not take the bill up again this year, according to Bloomberg News.

In a legislative session where the economy and redistricting was set to take precedence, Genting Corp. changed the political landscape by buying up the current home of The Miami Herald and unveiling an ambitious plan to launch a destination resort and casino. They just needed to change the state's law.

The company found several Republicans to support the bill, but the Republican caucus never took an official position and individual legislators were left to form their own opinion. With groups like Walt Disney Co., the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida opposing the bill however the political climate was far from hospitable to the plan.

House Rules Chair Gary Aubuchon has released a statement declaring that the bill will not be headed to any other committee, nor will it be heard by the full House.

It's officially dead for 2012, but the fight is far from over. Expect the measure to pop back up again in 2013. Will '13 be Genting's lucky year?

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