All Bets Are Off At Les Bois Park

 After operating without a required live racing permit since January 1, Treasure Valley Racing is cutting the cord on the simulcast gambling at Les Bois Park.

Idaho Code says: “No license authorizing simulcasting and/or televised races shall be issued to or renewed for persons that are not also licensed to conduct live race meets in the state of Idaho.”

While the operators had a 2015 permit and conducted live racing, simulcasts, and slot machines disguised as “historic racing,” things got held up at the gate when the Idaho legislature repealed the law that previously allowed the slot machines. They did not have a 2016 live racing permit, hence the activities since January 1 appear to be outside the law. Slots are illegal under the Idaho Constitution and legislators said the machines they approved were not the same as the machines in use. They didn’t meet the “parimutuel” exemption.

Gov. Butch Otter sided up with the race horse crowd, but screwed up on his timing with a veto to override the legislative repeal. The Idaho Supreme Court ultimately ruled the repeal stands, thus outlawing the slots. Treasure Valley Racing claimed they couldn’t afford to do live racing without subsidy from the (illegal) slot machines. The issue of whether or not the slot machines qualified as permissible parimutuel betting, was never decided. The GUARDIAN visited Les Bois and determined the machines were indeed slots. Some legislators and opponents came to the same conclusion, prompting the repeal which was approved by two-thirds of that body.

Hoping for a political solution to their business problem, the operators bet on a bill to create a gaming commission that would have allowed both simulcasts and the electronic devices (slots). With the legislature in the home stretch odds this session are against political support–remember it is an election year–so the TV screens, the track, and slots are all without the sound of hoofbeats.

Now, here’s the big incestuous issue. The Idaho State Police would be a logical agency to investigate the apparently illegal gambling since Jan. 1. If there was no Racing Commission permit for live racing, then simulcasts from other tracks were illegal. However, the Racing Commission operates under the oversight of ISP. If the live race permit has expired, simulcasts are like driving on an expired driver’s license. The system is flawed when the regulator and proponent of horse racing falls under the supervision of the enforcer, ISP.

It gets worse. The Ada County Prosecutor is the legal enforcer of the Idaho Code in Ada County, hence the logical agency to file charges for illegal operation of simulcast without a live racing permit. But that same prosecutor’s office wrote the lease contract on behalf of the Ada County Commissioners. The commishes also endorsed the political efforts of Treasure Valley Racing, signing on to an ad in the Statesman and offering testimony before the legislature in an effort to NOT repeal the slot machine bill last session. After all, it means JOBS and REVENUE!

And that folks, explains at a local level why there is so much support for the likes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. chicago sam
    Mar 17, 2016, 3:37 pm

    It has always struck me as strange that people would bet on a dead horse and that this behavior required regulation. Perhaps if you speed and no one catches you shouldn’t the same logic apply to the nefarious goings on after the deeds have been ruled illegal? Ada County now stuck with an unused racetrack–and the boys in Boise laughed at Nampa and their Idaho Center.

  2. Laws don’t apply to the rich folks.

    They make the laws, tell us what to think about them with the TeeVee, while stealing from us with their banking, insurance and taxing schemes.

    Laws are only for the peasants who can be snatched off the street at any time for breaking one of the millions of laws hidden in rooms full of law books.

    Go Trump! He may be a scary unknown, but 4 more years of Bush/Obama, the US Constitution Destroyers, would end in a Civil War / 2nd American Revolution guaranteed.

  3. Gambling is illegal and immoral, so it only makes sense to give the State the monopoly on gambling via the Idaho State Lottery.

    Drinking is also apparently immoral and the State Constitution says the State of Idaho is to promote temperance, so again the logical thing to do is give the State a monopoly where they profit from the promotion and sale of alcohol.

    Ironic how lucrative revenue sources for the State mute the official positions of the evils of drinking and gambling.

  4. “why there is so much support for the likes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.”

    So where does a REASONABLE person conclude that either Trump or Sanders would solve this problem, or any other problem?

    Support for Trump, Cruz, Sanders & Clinton comes from ignorance on both sides of the political spectrum– even at the county & city level.

    EDITOR NOTE–We explain only that people support Trump and Bernie because of the control exercised by party hacks and the rich. We don’t think anyone is foolish enough to believe those guys could solve issues. Folks are just fed up with the status quo.

  5. If I read this right what should concern every taxpayer and voter in the county (and the State) is that we have a contract between Ada County commissioners and the race track operators under which no legal license is in place.

    BOTH the ISP and the County Commissioners have allowed an illegal operation. Both are aiding an illegal operation.

    Did they figure it out or was it the Guardian? How many more of these do we have?

  6. Editor’s Note:
    They say they are fed are up with the status quo yet voting for the likes Trump only exacerbates the status quo.
    That’s making America great?

    Really, voters should be fed up with themselves. The person who bought a house they could not afford in hopes of turning a quick buck now blames their foreclosure on the corporate man, instead of realizing their own fault. What should they be fed up about?

    Ted Cruz stood up in in United States Senate and read a Dr. Seuss book in a 21 hour filibuster. What are the people fed up about? So they vote for Cruz and he wins the Idaho primary. Fed up with the chaos in Congress so much, and then they vote for the #1 jerk causing it?

    I don’t think it has to do with party hacks and “the rich”. That is just more “us vs them” rhetoric. No one pays me for my vote.

    When Ada County voters vote for, and repeat vote for someone like Yzaguirre – publicly known not to remit COLLECTED state sales tax and lottery money- it is hard to believe they are fed up with the status quo. Those voters are just ___ dumb.

  7. I also went to see the historical racing machines. No doubt they were slot machines. But did the lawmakers have the horse blanket pulled over their eyes… or did they fail to do their homework?

    I went to some of the hearings and I remember the example of the machines were like the ones in Arkansas at Oakland Race track.

    Well if you go the the Oakland web site you can see what has happened to historical racing. Who fault is it that they opened the door for gambling in Garden City? Did any of our lawmakers make a trip to Hot Springs to see these machines? Did any one see what could happen if the door was opened?

    My feeling is our lawmakers were to lazy to do their homework and should pay the “rich folks” for improvements that they made and the machines they bought.


  8. Yossarian_22
    Mar 18, 2016, 4:48 pm


    You wrote- “The person who bought a house they could not afford in hopes of turning a quick buck now blames their foreclosure on the corporate man, instead of realizing their own fault.”

    That’s not all quite true. Many or most borrowers got taken by having their loan apps modified by the broker, best case was Countrywide. CW’s risk manager, Eileen Foster discovered the mass use of Whiteout for changing incomes and occupations w/o the borrowers knowing. That is total fraud. Matt Taibbi has written volumes on this.

    EDITOR NOTE–“BIG SHORT” movie also is pretty good on the subject.

  9. Yossarian_22, Thanks for affirming my point.
    “they got taken” Yeah, right.

    So that poor victim with income of $50,000 willingly got a loan for $1800/mo INTEREST ONLY 3 year ARM, SIGNS the loan papers, knowing full well that loan payment is HALF of their monthly take home and then some mortgage bully in the backroom changed their loan papers with some whiteout to qualify them for the loan by showing income of $150,000/year income and somehow that is the mortgage brokers/lenders fault when the home buyer can’t make their mortgage that THEY AGREED too?

    “Everybody’s doing it- so I’m gonna do it too.”

    Fraud? On who’s part? The realtors collecting all those commissions who knew the people’s actual income and told them they could do a ‘stated income’ loan?

    Oh right, just like the payday loan businesses- fraud! On those poor innocent people who can’t read or do math. (sarcasm here for those not able to detect it).
    What about for all those housebuyers who made a ton of money BEFORE the housing crash with false loans? Was that fraud too?

    Kind of like the Les Bois racetrack owner BUYING those machines knowing full well they are slot machines… There is a popular phrase called, “buyer beware”.
    And now Porcupine wants to blame the legislators on that slight of law and thinks reimbursement is appropriate. Classic!

    There is no fraud when EVERYONE is making money.
    It’s only when someone gets screwed does the f-word (fraud) pop up. True for the .com bust; true for the mortgage bust; true for voter fraud; true every time. đŸ™‚

  10. Here’s an interesting article about trump being interviewed by Oprah 25 years ago. There’s a short video with him saying the exact same things he’s saying today. There’s speculation in the video about him running for president someday.

    EDITOR NOTE–Folks, perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned Trump and Bernie. The point of the story is that state and county officials allowed an illegal gambling activity for more than two months and did nothing to stop it.

  11. Yossarian_22
    Mar 19, 2016, 10:43 am


    Ok fine, when these apps are forwarded to the independent 3rd party appraisers, they were told to shorten their investigatory time per app down to where they could not properly perform a discovery of the fraud. They didn’t want to give up that business, so they accepted the parameters that led to the sub-primes poisoning the tranches of mixed loan bundles, to be resold over and over.

    You want to place all the blame on the borrowers who in many cases went into a lender looking for a normal loan, only to be scolded for not taking the “sweet” sub-prime. They called them “drive by loans.” This all does not forgive the lenders and resellers of these toxic loans that were ticking time bombs from the start. How do I know this? I have a niece and nephew that used to work for Countrywide. They knew that CW et al were committing fraud. And many CW employees were emailing Eileen Foster with all kinds of tips about the fraud. What did her bosses do? They attacked her instead. That is indefensible. Stop apologizing for the lenders of these defective products.

  12. Our overly competent elected official are the ones who’s necks are in the noose.

    The Gov is on the line for failures with Idaho State Police and the Gaming Commission.

    The County Commissioners necks are in noose as well.

    Question is – Who pulls the trap door lever?

  13. Tom –
    Answer: Nobody.
    Reason: Incurius corporate media is in bed with the rich folks and the politicians, so they don’t do investigative reporting anymore. They just read “official” press releases like Pravda did in Soviet Russia under Stalin.

  14. J Smith–You got it right. Did you see the sob story Channel 6 did on the dead horses at LEs Bois.
    I am supposed to feel sorry for the people losing money to mafia style gambling when cops, county councilmen, and state cops let them run simulcast when they didn’t have live race permit.

    Guardian says everyone has skin in the game, so they just turned their official heads away from the law. KIVI got sucked in as well.

  15. So not only do we have the state and a county allowing illegal activity we don’t have a single reporter at the daily rag or on tv that can even investigate this stuff? Oh yea I forgot that today’s reporters just read the press release or take the offenders to coffee to get the “warm fuzzies” about how there is really no problem at all.

    The reason they do not dig is that all the reporters want to work as PIO’s and VP’s of Marketing at the places that needs investigated.

    I doubt they even saw the political ad in the rag today. I doubt they even care given all the big money that comes into the advertising department of the companies shown on the comic.

    EDITOR NOTE–In fairness we gotta defend Cynthia Sewell at the DAILY PAPER. She is the main reason they even bothered to observe the law on the simulcast.

  16. Does this mean that there will finally be and end to these ridiculous “stories” about the race track. I say good riddance, if for no other reason then I am just tired of hearing about it…

  17. I don’t get the attraction of slot machines. You have to be naive to think any slot machine is going to allow you to win. They are rigged in favor of the house. I won’t miss the slots at Le Bois.

  18. As any one can see there is a big difference between the Idaho Lottery’s touch tab machines that are very legal at McCleary’s Pub on Orchard Avenue and the Historical Racing Machines that the rich horse racing folks had at the Les Bois Race track. And any way all of the money from the legal touch tab machines are going to help all of the school children in Idaho… When you are helping school children it really is not gambling. Gambling is when you bet on some thing other than school children.

  19. Any Resolution?
    Mar 30, 2016, 1:52 pm

    So did anything happen on this issue?

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