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'Don't Mess With Bingo:' Florida Lawmakers Table Gambling Proposal

A resident at the Southern Pines nursing home takes part in the daily bingo game in Warner Robins, Ga., on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
John Bazemore/AP
/
AP
A resident at the Southern Pines nursing home takes part in the daily bingo game in Warner Robins, Ga., on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

A proposal that would have allowed pari-mutuel facilities to offer bingo games stalled Monday in a Senate committee.

The proposal (SB 10A) came during a special legislative session that started Monday to consider a gambling deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The session also includes other gambling issues, including changes at pari-mutuel facilities.

Under current law, charitable and veterans’ organizations and such things as homeowners’ associations can conduct bingo games. The Senate Appropriations Committee took up the proposal Monday but tabled it.

The House had not proposed such a bill.

“As everybody up here knows, I represent Northwest Florida, and we don’t care how much roulette you play or blackjack or whatever else you do, but don’t mess with bingo,” Sen. George Gainer, R-Panama City, said.

Bill sponsor Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, said lawmakers could deal with the issue in September, when they will come back to Tallahassee to start committee meetings in advance of the 2022 legislative session.

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