MIAMI (CBS4) – Among the scores of bills that died Friday at the end of Florida’s legislative session was House Bill 1145 – a measure that would have hastened the demise of greyhound racing in Florida.

On its own, dog racing is a dying industry. Once a fabled part of Florida culture, greyhound racing no longer caries much cache. Grandstands are empty and the tracks lose millions of dollars every year.

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The only way places like Flagler Dog Track and Mardi Gras make money is through their slot machines and poker rooms. But under current law, tracks have to keep racing dogs in order to keep their casinos open.

This legislative session, Mardi Gras’ Dan Adkins and other track operators were pushing bills that would allow them to stop racing dogs and yet still keep their casinos.

Adkins claims he is losing close to $3 million a year on dog racing. He would like to replace his oval track with a new state of the art casino.

“I make no bones about that, my goal is to become a destination resort here with a hotel and a full casino,” Adkins told CBS4’s Jim DeFede.

For dog trainer and kennel owners Joe Trudden the legislative bills pushed by Adkins and others are an act of betrayal.

“The big tracks that have gotten rich and wealthy from the dogs are trying to kick the over 300 small businesses to the curb and put us on unemployment,” Trudden said.

The greyhound association in Florida claims that greyhound racing employs 8,000 people and pumps more than $50 million into the economy. Both the tracks and animal rights activists dispute those numbers.

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Joining the track owners in pushing the bill were animal rights groups who view greyhound racing as cruel and inhumane.

“This is a bill that is going to help thousands of greyhounds,” said Carey Theil said, president of Grey2K, a national organization that fights greyhound racing across country. CBS4 News caught up to him in Tallahassee during the final days of the session.

“Dogs live lives of terrible confinement many dogs suffer serious injuries; that is why every major animal protection organization in Florida and across the county opposes this industry and it’s why we are fighting hard to help these dogs,” he said.

Theil admits it is strange that two groups which were once enemies – the track owners and the animal rights activists – were working together to try and pass the bill,

At the time CBS4 spoke to Theil, he was feeling mildly optimistic. Versions of the bill had passed both the House and the Senate. The Senate bill offered tax credits to track owners to allow them to gradually bring a halt to dog racing. The house bill did not.

“There are a lot of forces working to kill this bill and a lot of forces working to pass it,” Adkins said on Wednesday. He also noted it was amazing that a group as dysfunctional as dog track owners appeared to be acting well together.

But in the final hours of the session, whatever comity the group had, fell apart,

At one point Friday, it looked like a deal was in place to pass the measure without any tax credits for the track owners. But then, according to various sources, some tracks, including the Palm Beach Kennel Club, refused to go along at the last minute.

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The kennel club wanted those tax credits. Ultimately key legislators from Palm Beach County pulled their support and the bill died.

Jim DeFede