October 28, 2015

Whoa, Governor!

Filed under: General — Tags: — Bill @ 7:08 pm

gambling-games1Idaho Governor Clement L. Otter churned out a press release today in which he called for the reinstatement of the historic horse racing/instant racing terminals in Idaho.

Our earlier OpenCdA posts expressed our views on how this entire debacle was propagated by almost everyone in state government except the janitors who clean the restrooms at the Capitol.

So while we agree it is noble to try and make whole those equine-related businesses who were financially damaged by a reckless Idaho Legislature, we want to say, “Whoa, Governor!”

We still firmly believe during the 2014 session,  the Idaho Legislature arbitrarily deprived the historic horse racing terminal businesses of their property (their investment) without due process of law when the Legislature repealed the permissive legislation enacted in 2013.  That 2013 legislation was passed without objection from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, so the Tribe’s 2014 complaint seemed to us to be untimely and motivated more by the desire to interfere with competition than control crime.

The skews media inaccurately reported that the historic horse racing terminals were declared illegal by the Idaho Supreme Court’s quite properly overturning Governor Otter’s clearly illegal veto of the 2014 law.    No, the Court found the Governor’s veto was illegal.  The court did not rule on the legality of the terminals.  To date, no Idaho court has determined that the historic horse racing terminals violate any Idaho gaming equipment law.

The Post Falls Police Department had been conducting an investigation to provide an evidentiary basis for determining if the terminals in use violated Idaho law, however that investigation was suspended before it was completed.    To our knowledge, that investigation has not resumed and no final investigative results have been submitted to the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney for a charging decision.

But while we agree that the businesses mentioned were wronged by both the Legislative and Executive Branches, we think that the proposal Governor Otter outlined in his press release misses the mark.  Yes, form a real Gaming Commission or Gaming Board.  Staff it with knowledgeable gaming professionals, not political stooge appointees.  Then let that agency do its job without political intervention or obstruction.  But …

In the meantime, complete the first step:  Complete the investigation begun by the Post Falls Police Department.  To us, the first step still must be a court decision which rules on the legality of the historic horse racing machines which were unplugged when the Supreme Court overturned the Governor’s veto.     The Governor’s press release does not mention any recommended changes to the gaming machines.  If the terminals were illegal before, they still are illegal.  Whether to prosecute criminally would be within the discretion of the prosecuting authority.    If the terminals were not illegal before, then the equine industry has been wrongly financially damaged.  It is unwise to proceed until this technical determination of legality has been made and adjudicated by an Idaho court.


  1. “Staff it with knowledgeable gaming professionals, not political stooge appointees. Then let that agency do its job without political intervention or obstruction.”
    Seriously? Don’t bet on it happening. Idaho’s governmental structure would have to be completely overhauled before your suggestion could ever occur and, as long as Idaho is a one party state, that is never going to happen.

    Comment by Tributary — October 29, 2015 @ 8:16 am

  2. Tributary,

    I fear you’re right. It doesn’t matter which party is in power; the imbalance seems to create a sense of entitlement in whichever one is currently there. Sadly, the rabidistas in both major parties seem intent on maintaining their status quo corruptus once it’s in their grasp.

    Comment by Bill — October 29, 2015 @ 8:38 am

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