While big destination casinos lobbied Florida lawmakers heavily to no avail last year in an attempt to expand the state's gambling options, it appears that more study of the issue will take place this year.

House and Senate legislators have issued a joint invitation to negotiate for qualified vendors to do an academic study detailing the state's gambling market information.

The study will be used by lawmakers to better understand the economic, fiscal, and social impacts of additional changes in the state's gambling environment, according to the invitation.

While gambling has been well-established in Florida since the 1890s, gambling industries have transformed with the advent of cruises, card rooms, casinos, and Internet cafes.

The state also has an Indian Gaming Compact that shares income with the state, and includes exclusivity rights to Las Vegas-style gambling.

Before legislative changes are considered, the Senate and House gaming committees have ordered a comprehensive critical assessment of the industry. Responses to the ITN are due March 20, and a vendor will be selected April 3.

The study will be completed by Oct. 1.

"The study will analyze not only what we have but also new possibilities knocking at the door," state officials said. "It will inform our choice of whether or not to open the door, and if so, how wide."

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