The Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Idaho wants the state’s Supreme Court to enforce legislation passed overwhelmingly by both houses but vetoed by Governor Butch Otter. The law would ban instant horse racing terminals by July 1st.
In a petition filed June 3, 2015 lawyers for the tribe say that the governor’s veto was not returned to the senate within a five day window, rendering it moot. The bill passed the senate with a 25 to 9 majority but an effort to override the veto failed 19-16. It would have taken a two thirds majority to override the veto.
The tribe earlier demanded that Secretary of State Lawerence Denney certify the bill and record it into law. Denney, a three term representative and former Speaker of the House refused, saying that he didn’t think his office had the authority to do so and that no matter his decision, the issue would likely end up in court.
The instant or historical racing machines allow bettors seated at a betting terminal, which resembles a slot machine, to bet on horse races that have been run in the past. The date and location of the race is not revealed until results are returned but certain information needed for handicapping is provided. Players do no need to use that information to place a bet and can choose a random card on a random race.
Idaho lawmakers passed a law in 2013 legalizing the machines but later said they felt duped into approving them. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe objected to the machines saying they were simply slots, which are illegal in the state. Idaho’s only commercial horse racing venue, Les Bois Park, says they will probably have to close if revenue from the machines is taken away.
The tribe runs a casino in northern Idaho, near one of the three venues that offer the machines.