After a 10-5 vote last week, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee reluctantly agreed to send the measure, sans recommendation, to the House floor. Proponents of the ban, including Stop Predatory Gambling, a Washington, DC- based anti-gaming group, successfully convinced lawmakers in Idaho that the lucrative touchscreen gaming machines commonly known as touch tabs, look too much like slot machines and clear the way for gambling to spread throughout the state.
The concerns of the supporters of the repeal, however, weren’t enough to convince a majority of the House chamber. The measure wasn’t even close to passing; failing with 18 voting for the repeal and 52 opposing.
Approximately 240 electronic pull-tab machines can be found in over 140 locations throughout the state. Similar in performance to slots, the machines are capable of playing some 1,200 bets per hour and can typically be found situated near the counters of local taverns. Unlike slot machines, the machines are paperless and are without all the bells and whistles that accompany slot machines.
The machines were first installed in 2011 and at that time the Idaho Lottery saw sales of roughly $2.9 million. Sales had skyrocketed to $31 million by 2016, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the state could be gearing up for another battle over the possible legalization of instant historical horseracing wagering machines.