Legislation has been introduced by an Idaho House panel that would create a new state agency to investigate and oversee gambling activities throughout the state.
The proposal was introduced on Wednesday by the House State Affairs Committee, with two Democratic members opposing. Multiple members warned, however, that they would not give the bill their support during a full legislative hearing, according to the Associated Press.
The chairman of the committee, Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher of Iona, says the agency would oversee horse racing, Idaho tribal gaming, and state lottery gambling. The bill would not dissolve the state’s current lottery and racing commissions. Instead, an additional gaming commission would be created housed under the new agency.
Ever since historic racing (sometimes known as “instant racing”) machines were deemed illegal last year, the need for closer gambling scrutiny has been debated by lawmakers. The devices can look and act similar to a slot machine, which have been illegal in the state since the 1950’s.
A gaming commission that would help to legalize historical horse racing was advocated by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, but it was not included in his annual address given at the beginning of the session.