Horse Racing

Idaho Racing Commission

Idaho horse breeders could end up empty-handed due to a dispute about how the money collected from lucrative betting machines should be distributed.

The Idaho Racing Commission discussed the topic Wednesday, but delayed making a decision until October.

There is a disagreement over how much the breeder fund should be split between the thoroughbred and quarter horse accounts. If it's not solved by December, the money automatically goes to public schools.

Lawrence Wasden
Idaho Public Television

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says the Coeur d'Alene Tribe is going after the wrong guy in their legal fight over instant horse racing terminals.

The tribe filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court last week contending that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's veto of legislation banning the betting machines is invalid because he didn't complete it within the required five-day time span. The tribe asked the high court to force Secretary of State Lawerence Denney to certify the legislation as law.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe says Idaho’s governor didn’t act fast enough in April when he vetoed a gambling bill the tribe supported and have asked the state Supreme Court to invalidate the veto.

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to order the state to enforce legislation banning instant horse racing terminals.

The tribe filed the petition with the state's highest court on Wednesday, contending that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's veto of the legislation was invalid because the governor didn't complete the veto within the required five-day time span.

The Idaho Racing Commission has suspended all future approval of lucrative slot-like machines known as instant horse racing terminals.

The commission unanimously issued its moratorium today. Their decision comes after Gov. "Butch" Otter vetoed legislation that would have banned all instant horse racing machines in Idaho and instructed the commission to enforce the suspension.

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on old horse races with no identifiable information. Idaho lawmakers approved legalizing the machines in 2013.

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr Creative Commons

Two years ago, Idaho lawmakers approved  instant horse racing, which allows people to gamble using past races. Since that time, instant racing machines have been set up at three Idaho locations; Garden City, Post Falls and Idaho Falls.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

This post was updated April 7, 2015

The Idaho Senate has failed to override Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's veto on legislation that would have made roughly 250 slot-like betting machines in Idaho illegal,

However, senators passed three letters questioning the legality of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's notification actions.

The Senate voted 19-16 on Monday, just five votes shy of the required two-thirds support needed to flip a veto in a chamber.

Steve Sawyer / Flickr

A bill that would ban Idaho's slot-like instant horse racing machines has passed the House and is on its way to the governor's desk.

After two hours of discussion in the chamber, the House voted 49-21 Thursday to repeal a law the Legislature passed in 2013 allowing the lucrative betting terminals, which closely resemble slot machines.

Some lawmakers say that they were tricked into approving instant horse racing — that is, betting on an earlier horse race but with no identifiable information.

Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr Creative Commons

The owners of Les Bois Park in Garden City say they'll close the facility permanently if the Idaho Legislature bans instant racing. A bill to do away with the betting terminals – which critics say too closely resemble slot machines – is making its way through the Legislature.

Several hundred gambling devices in Idaho would become illegal under a bill now headed to the House floor.

Idaho lawmakers are set to tackle some of the most contentious issues of the session at the capitol. Monday morning starts with a hearing on abortion.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The legality over Idaho's contentious slot-like machines —known as instant horse racing terminals— sparked lengthy pleas on Wednesday from ranchers, horse breeders and jockeys arguing that removing the machines would cue the end to their industry.

The House State Affairs Committee listened to five hours of testimony regarding a bill that would repeal roughly 250 historical horse racing terminals currently installed in Idaho. The committee has not yet scheduled when they will vote on the bill.

The bill has already passed in the Senate.

The Idaho Senate Tuesday passed a bill that would repeal a law allowing so-called “instant horse-racing” gambling machines. One senator said the Legislature had been the victim of a “bait and switch.”

Many of the senators agreed that the slot-like video devices that are now installed at three places in Idaho were not the historical horse race games they intended to legalize back in 2013. The question was what to do about it now.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A panel in the Idaho Senate voted  Wednesday to undo the 2013 decision that allowed so-called “instant horse racing” machines. Lawmakers now say the devices appear to violate the state constitution.

More than 200 machines have been installed, including several dozen at the Greyhound Park and Event Center in Post Falls.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The manufacturer of so-called “instant horse racing” machines tried to convince Idaho lawmakers Monday not ban the gambling devices.

Lawmakers legalized the machines two years ago, but are having second thoughts.

In 2013, track owners told lawmakers the games based on historical races would help save the racing business. But lawmakers say the result look a like slot machines -- and those are illegal on non-tribal land.

The head of Idaho's horse racing regulatory agency has retired.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Frank Lamb's retirement is effectively immediately. An Idaho State Police spokeswoman declined to provide further information about why Lamb retired.

However, the announcement came two days after the Statesman reported Lamb had been working as a consultant in Wyoming for a simulcast and instant horse racing company.

Tribes Ask Idaho To Outlaw Instant Racing Machines

Jan 7, 2015

Several Native American tribes have sent a letter to Idaho officials, urging them to stop the proliferation on instant racing machines in the state.

The machines became legal after the state Legislature approved a bill in 2013. The machines are being operated at several sites around the state including the Greyhound park in Post Falls. The machines use videos of various unidentified horse races that players bet on.

Coeur d'Alene tribal spokeswoman Heather Keen says the law allows for the machines to be less regulated than the betting machines the tribes operate.

Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader

Race horse Rousing Sermon may, or may not, run in the Belmont Stakes in June.  The horse was raised at the Tree Top Ranch in Parma.  He became a favorite of Idaho fans when he ran in the Kentucky Derby, where he came in 8th.  He skipped the Preakness, and now his trainers are trying to decide if he’ll give Belmont a go.

Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader

For the first time in nine years, a horse from Idaho will run in the Kentucky Derby Saturday.  Rousing Sermon is considered an underdog. 

Scott Jagow is the editor of the horse racing website PaulickReport.com.  He says the horse from Parma has generated almost no buzz in Louisville.  But Jagow is one of those who observed the horse this week.   He says Rousing Sermon looks good, seems to like the Churchill Downs surface, and fits well in the Derby format.