Amid claims of “duping” among some members, the Idaho Legislature could put slot machine betting on horse races near the finish line.
In a story posted by the DAILY PAPER, Rep. Gayle Batt of Wilder told the House State Affairs Committee some members felt duped by advocates of the so-called “video terminals displaying historical horse races.”
Even before they left the gate, the GUARDIAN pointed out the devices are nothing more than slot machines which are outlawed by the Idaho constitution. We have yet to find a believable explanation proving the machines are actually part of a “pari mutuel” betting pool which doesn’t bet against the house. Rooms filled with adults drinking booze betting on slot machines also have a strong hint of “casino style gambling” which is unconstitutional in Idaho.
A 2014 Attorney General Opinion seems to define slots and video gambling in a manner which would make the Les Bois project illegal.
Ada commishes approved the plan of private operator Treasure Valley Racing to install 200 of the slot machines at the county-owned Les Boise Park, claiming they had no reason to deny the request since the legislature passed a bill last session approving the machines which claim to be pari mutual betting terminals.
Treasure Valley Racing claims they need 200 machines and expanded hours at the venue to make a profit.
Now it seems legislators who have to approve the rules of the game are betting against video horse races. The house denied the gaming, with some members claiming they were told only 50 of the electronic devices would be installed, not the 200 approved by the Ada board. Rep. Batt also said she had concern about the machines once she say they were not the same as the ones previously displayed.
To us, it looks like the lawmakers didn’t do their homework, trusted a special interest which promised jobs and tax revenues, and got duped in the process. The Ada Commishes had the chance to raise the constitutional issue, but stepped aside.
At this point, slot machine gambling on thousands of old video horse races is anything but a sure bet.
Here is the CONSTITUTION applicable section:
Section 20. GAMBLING PROHIBITED. (1) Gambling is contrary to public policy and is strictly prohibited except for the following:
a. A state lottery which is authorized by the state if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation; and
b. Pari-mutuel betting if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation; and
c. Bingo and raffle games that are operated by qualified charitable organizations in the pursuit of charitable purposes if conducted in conformity with enabling legislation.
(2) No activities permitted by subsection (1) shall employ any form of casino gambling including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, bacarrat, keno and slot machines, or employ any electronic or electromechanical imitation or simulation of any form of casino gambling.
(3) The legislature shall provide by law penalties for violations of this section.
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