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