Indians Say Horsemen Speak With Forked Tongue

Horse race in Boise, Idaho. horse, race, jocky, competition, ride, track, run, sport, turf, jockeyLeaders of four Idaho Indian tribes have written a letter to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden calling for an immediate termination of what they claim is illegal gambling at race tracks, including Les Bois Park in Garden City.

In their letter, the tribal leaders note the 2013 legislature passed House Bill 220 which authorized pari-mutuel wagering on “historic horse races.”

They claim proponents sold the concept of “instant racing” to lawmakers as being just like traditional pari-mutuel wagering, but the patron is betting on a previously run race. That’s where forked tongue allegations comes in.

Tribes didn’t oppose the bill at the time, but now they see it as a “false premise,” saying the description of historical racing (as being a pari-mutuel event) “could not be further from the truth.”

Casino-style gambling and slot machines are illegal in Idaho except on Indian reservations. The Constitution specifically outlaws slots, but allows pari-mutuel betting which is betting against a “pool” and not the house. Slots bet against the house.

The interesting part of this saga will be in the back story. Ada Commishes approved the deal with the Les Bois Park tenants after the legislature passed the 2013 bill, saying it was an attempt to save the horse racing industry.

Now that slot machines masquerading as pari-mutuel “historic or instant” racing are being called into question, it would seem logical the Ada County Prosecutor staff would need to look into the constitutionality of the deal their office approved for the commishes as well any criminal violations sought by law enforcement. Talk about a conflict of interest.

But wait, there’s more! The Idaho Racing Commission is advocating the thinly disguised slot machine gambling on behalf of the horse owners. But wait, we’ll double your fun! The Racing Commission falls under the purview of the Idaho State Police which (logically?) would investigate any potential criminal violations since the booze license is issued and regulated by ISP.

Wait! Wait! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more involved, both the State Police and Racing Commission are represented by…the Attorney General!

The only sure bet as we see it is the Indians and the media will entertain us during the upcoming legislative session.

The GUARDIAN reported SIX YEARS ago and most recently about HORSELESS RACING in August.

The complete Indian letter: Tribal ltr to Gov & AG 1 06 2015

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Does anyone know if the tribes raised objections when this came up to the legislature?

    That said, jeez, the “forked tongue” thing is a little outdated don’t you think?

    EDITOR NOTE–Both the story and the letter say the Indians didn’t object because the scheme was sold as “just like pari-mutuel.” They now claim both the Indians and legislators were told a fib, lie, falsehood. (Forked tongue!)

  2. Bieter+begone
    Jan 7, 2015, 5:47 am

    If this is betting on historical races, couldn’t one look up the result of that race before betting? I guess I don’t understand the whole concept because to me, it seems stupid. It’s like picking numbers today for the lottery that ran last night. Now that I could go for.

    EDITOR NOTE– It is indeed like picking numbers from a previous lottery. However they don’t tell you WHAT lottery or WHERE until you spin the cherries, lemons, and bars. There are something like 60,000 races used to take your money.

  3. Let’s legalize ALL gambling in Idaho.

    Too much money being lost to Nevada and other states.

    If Republicans were really for free enterprise it would be done already.

  4. Boise County voters just approved gambling to save Idaho City. The horse racing people got gambling approved to save horse racing. Is horse racing more important than saving a dying city?
    (Mr Guardian you should see who the people are that rent Les Boise Park and you would understand why it got approved by the state).

    If we are going down this road let’s just legalize it.

    Just a FYI for every one I don’t think gambling is going to save horse racing or Idaho City

  5. Simply the Reservation Casino interests trying to protect their monopoly in the State. If gambling is acceptable on reservations, there is no legitimate reason it not permitted elsewhere. What’s the difference? This mess is precisely what happens when you allow certain people to dictate the behaviors of others. If we really embraced freedom, stupidity like this wouldn’t exist. Easterner is correct….

  6. My Two cents
    Jan 7, 2015, 2:30 pm

    Casmir: The difference is that the Indian casinos are not technically within the governmental boundaries of the state of Idaho; they are on sovereign land. Thus, the argument is flawed if the premise is gambling should be legal everywhere in Idaho because it is legal on reservations. It’s like saying gambling is legal in Monaco, so it should be legal in Idaho. That said, however, I happen to agree that gambling should be legal, but that is a matter for the Idaho state legislature, and I doubt will ever happen.

  7. This sort of “gambling” certainly passes the Duck Test and/or Elephant test.

    Check out this link from an Instant Racing machine supplier. They say they are betting on generalized data instead of specific races and it involves some skill, but it does look like a casino to me.

    It would be interesting to see a video of what is installed locally, but for now check these out. This first one looks a little different than a “slot machine”.

    This one however clearly looks like the the duck(slot machine).

  8. I think gambling is as harmful as alcoholism and smoking. It’s astonishing the revenue the three “sins” generate for the governments involved. Crazy really. How creating and feeding addiction any different from predatory lending?

    Tribe owned gambling: In the end, white-man gave the Natives the worst possible white-man disease… Greed.

    Theory: The Native casinos have been allowed by the US government in effort to finally integrate the Native populations into mainstream America. It’s working. Awash with money, the tribes are resembling private corporations.

    Fortunately they are also building excellent museums to preserve vanishing examples of the past.

  9. Funny thing about conservatives. Didn’t it used to be that gambling was a sin? Wasn’t gambling considered immoral? At the very least, gambling is addictive and we all know what conservatives like to do with drug addicts. Lengthy jail terms.

    It’s not very conservative to liberalize gaming laws.

    EDITOR NOTE–Remember, horse racing is the “sport of kings.”

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