Last night, after nearly 60 years of racing, the last standardbred race at the Isle Pompano Park took to the track in front of a packed grandstand. Thanks to the self-interested actions of a multibillion-dollar corporation, Caesars Entertainment. The closure of the Isle put the nail in the coffin of the Florida Standardbred industry, a storied agricultural industry with a multi-million-dollar economic impact across the state. Upwards of 10,000 Floridians’ livelihoods have either been forced out of state or nearly erased at the hands of the Florida Senate leadership due to legislation passed during the Special Session in May 2021.
During the Special Session on Gaming in May 2021, the Legislature chose to decouple standardbred racing. This means casinos are no longer required to operate Harness racing or Standardbred racing. This industry enjoys a tradition in Florida that is over half a century long, an essential piece of our state’s agriculture economy. Representative Daley filed HB 1269 this past Legislative Session as a solution to the decoupling of the industry. It would once again provide an avenue for harness racing to return to Florida while allowing the families in this industry to operate their small businesses and continue raising their families. It, unfortunately, was not given a hearing in the Senate due to the Florida Senate Leadership.
Representative Dan Daley issued the following statement:
“I’d like to thank the Florida House, Senator Shevrin Jones, and our other Senate allies for their hard work and support since last year’s Special Session on Gaming. These folks sided with Floridians, instead of the world’s largest, out-of-state gaming company, Caesars Entertainment, but, unfortunately, it was not enough. I am not giving up on this industry and will be re-introducing legislation allowing a path forward for standardbred racing in Florida. Thousands of families are counting on us to do what is right for Florida.”