Horseless Racing Headed For Finish Line?

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.”
Low angle view of Horse race. horse, race, racing, ride, riding, jocky, sport, track, run, jockey
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.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. If the legislature had done even rudimentary due diligence this would have been obvious in the first place.

  2. If the Idaho Legislators would actually read the bills written for them by the corporations, they would feel duped less often.

  3. Good reporting DF. I agree with previous posts. Horseless racing? Horse ____!

  4. When I was young, people called me a gambler.
    As the scale of my operations increased I became known as a speculator.
    Now I am called a banker.
    But I have been doing the same thing all the time.
    -Sir Ernest Cassel

    It’s ALL gambling, let’s make it all legal.

    EDITOR NOTE–Admittedly combining the U.S. and Idaho constitutional issues. We cannot ignore the constitution(s) and observe only those with which we agree. Butch fights “to preserve Idaho’s gay marriage ban,” but won’t join to prevent local governments from going into debt without a vote. Some folks defend the right to bear arms, but want to allow slot machines which are currently unconstitutional. IT’S THE CONSTITUTION! You can’t just claim it helps the economy or creates jobs. We have to live by the rule of law. It takes an amendment of the constitution, not just “thinking outside the box.”

  5. Right, it takes an amendment, so let’s do it.

    Just the same as the gay community (and everyone) should have proceeded with a ballot initiate to reverse the previous initiate instead of pursuing a legal case IMO.

    The point of this quote is ‘gambling’ is really a relative term.
    Gambling- paying for tuition hoping to get a job to pay back the tuition, that’s chancy.
    Start a business. Considering 50%+ of businesses fail, that’s a gamble.
    Investing your money in Albertson’s stock = legal gambling.
    Driving down the road at 80Mph,,,, you’re kind of gambling that things go well. Lose and you could lose “everything”.

    Sitting around a table playing poker with friends- big deal!
    Let’s legalize gambling – and concealed carry, marijuana, prostitution, and money laundering too. 🙂

  6. A couple of points Easterner. The ballot initiative process was tried with term limits and our brilliant legislature overturned it (Dave, correct me if I am wrong), And no consequences resulted for them As for amending the Constitution, I totally agree with your last sentence–it would solve a lot of problems.

  7. As for horse racing, we need to quit propping up industries that can’t make it on their own.

  8. touche erico49 on the Legislature overturning the will of the people. On that point in 3 other states about the same time-period their state supreme court overturned their term-limit laws- MA, OR, & WA.

    So I suppose either the legislative or the judicial branch can wrongfully overturn the will of the people. Let’s add executive to the list as well with executive orders and vetos.

    Propping up industries is sometimes necessary and good though. Space exploration, for one, as brought lots of benefits to society. Where we ought to be doing some “propping” is alternative energy and medical.

  9. I think the Stage Coach in Garden City needs propping up… but maybe too. Still miss the Jumbo Prawns

  10. Horse racing is the “sport of kings”, and we all know that the wealthy can’t be expected to pay their way in life, hence the dire need to prop up their sport through slot machines. I predict a few outraged phone calls, and this will all be taken care of through a new Idaho Legislature bill to correct any issues that might hinder the wealthy from running their ponies.

  11. Bieter+begone
    Feb 13, 2015, 6:21 pm

    Actually easterner and erico, same sex marriage was banned by a constitutional amendment, not an initiative. So apparently constitutional amendments don’t count for much either and neither do the voters.

  12. Since we’re all political wizards here, let’s have some clarification

    An initiative (a.k.a. popular or citizens’ initiative) is a means by which a PETITION signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote.
    The VOTE may be on a proposed statute, constitutional amendment, charter amendment or local ordinance, or to simply oblige the executive or legislature to consider the subject by submitting it to the order of the day.

    EDITOR NOTE–Easterner. You are sort of correct. Unfortunately, Idaho has no mechanism for citizens to initiate a constitutional amendment. The ONLY way to amend is for a 2/3 vote of both house and senate followed by simple majority of voters.

    Further, the Idaho Supremes have ruled that a citizen–initiative creating a specific law (statute) has the same force and effect as any law passed by the legislature, so the legislature has the authority to repeal ANY law. That’s what happened with term limits. The catch 22 is that even if we all signed a petition to amend, it would be a futile effort because we have no standing as mere citizens to amend.

  13. This topic would make a tough ‘civics question’.

    So from my reading source:

    “Citizens of Idaho may only initiate legislation as a state statute. Idahoans may also repeal legislation via veto referendum, but cannot place a constitutional amendment on the ballot via initiative.
    The Idaho State Legislature, on the other hand, may place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments.”
    (Also noted in that reading, is not all state operate the same on this topic).

    Guardian, would it be possible for a citizens initiate to make a directive to the legislature to put a gambling “amendment” on the ballot… not that they would, but if it is ever possible from the citizens that would have to be the route taken? that would just add an additional step in the process…
    Correct, or is there something missing?

    EDITOR NOTE–Doubtful at best. A “directive” would have no power. It goes back to “we deserve what we get because the majority voted for them.”

  14. Rod+in+SE+Boise
    Feb 15, 2015, 12:13 pm

    The prawns at Murphys were better than the Stagecoach.

    The US Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, trumps the Idaho Constitution. That’s what happened on the same-gender marriage issue.

    EDITOR NOTE–Debating the quality of food at CLOSED restaurants can happen only at the GUARDIAN!

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