It looks like the thinly disguised slot machines touted as “historic racing” are headed for the finish line after a legislative panel voted 8 to 1 Wednesday to send to the floor a bill repealing the law allowing “instant racing.”
Complaints from Idaho Indian Tribes which host casino gambling prompted the legislature to look into the gambling issue. The legislature passed a law allowing use of machines in 2013, but they now say they were duped and the machines in use today are not what they were shown two years ago.
“I cannot escape the fact that these are electronic simulations of slot machines. … I cannot escape the fact that these machines don’t appear to be allowed under the Idaho Constitution,” said Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise.
Pari-mutuel wagering is the only form of betting allowed under the Idaho Constitution, which bans slot machines and slot machine simulations. The GUARDIAN and opponents say the machines are not pari-mutuel.
Sens. Curt McKenzie, Bart Davis, Brent Hill, Chuck Winder, Jeff Siddoway, Todd Lakey, Michelle Stennet and Werk voted to pass the bill.
The only vote to reject the bill came from acting Sen. Kimberly Johnson, who is filling in for Sen. Patti Anne Lodge. Lodge voted in support of instant racing in 2013. Johnson disclosed to the committee she has a possible conflict of interest because she has a connection to the horse industry.
SB 1011 now heads to the Senate floor and if passed it goes to the House and then on to the Guv for signature or veto. While horseless racing is out of the starting gate, it will take a trifecta to make any money on the race. At this stage, odds are favoring a repeal.
As we see it, it’s easy to change the LAW, but our Idaho CONSTITUTION specifically bans slots and gambling with the exception of pari-mutuel pools.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.