Idaho’s Proposition 1’s Historical Horse Racing Terminals Faces Stiff Opposition , Betting on live horse racing betting is legal in the state of Idaho, but the state of the live horse racing industry in The Gem State is not doing all that well. As a solution to the industry’s financial woes, Proposition 1 aims to legalize historical horse racing terminals as a form of electronic gambling games.
In a recent commentary on the Lewiston Tribune’s website by Chuck Malloy, he expects opposition to this measure to increase once voters gain a better understanding of the correlation between a legal-historical horse racing terminal and a legal slot machine.
Jonathan Krutz is a marketing professor at Boise State University and he has been one of the more vocal opponents to Proposition 1. In a direct quote, he stated, “What this proposal does is ask Idaho voters to legalize slot machines.” Proponents of this type of electronic gambling game argue that this is a game of skill where players can handicap racing forms to bet on horses to win, place and show.
Krutz’s answer to this claim was, “Nobody does that.” He went on to add, “They were spinning the reels and hitting the button every five seconds. The fact that you could bet on a horse race on the machines is irrelevant to any gambling.” This stance came from his personal experience watching these machines in play years ago at Les Bois Park in Garden City.
The machines do contain a small screen that shows the finish of a horse race, but it is argued that has very little to do with historical horse races. Krutz firmly believes that historical horse racing terminals are slot machines and, if passed, Proposition 1 will face a court challenge.
Idaho’s current state constitution clearly states that the only legal forms of real money gambling is the state’s lottery system and live horse racing. The only exception, such as slot machines, are on the tribal lands controlled by Indian tribes in conjunction with the federal government.
Krutz along with other opponents of Proposition 1 realize that legal gambling on tribal lands is out of their control, but they continue to do everything within their power to lobby against the expansion of real money gambling in the form of historical horse racing terminals. This initiative has been made all the more difficult in the face of a heavy advertising campaign promoting the passage of the ballot initiative.
Also in the works is an initiative to bring live horse racing to Les Bois Park. Backed by Treasure Valley Racing, any racing facility that offered at least eight daily cards of live races could also install these electronic gambling games known as historical horse racing terminals. If this is the case, Sandy Downs of Idaho Falls might be tempted to schedule eight days of live racing in order to add these electronic gambling machines to the mix.
Krutz is also quick to downplay any economic benefits of this proposal by implying that the jobs that would be created is not the kind of industry that Idaho’s Department of Commerce is trying to attract.