Little-known fact: “Our state has the highest per-capita horse population to people of any place in the world.” That’s according to Ed McMillis of the Idaho Horse Council, who was among those testifying in favor of HB 220 in the House State Affairs Committee this morning. The bill permits pari-mutuel betting on “historical horse races,” a type of simulcast betting that’s becoming popular nationally that involves replays of old but unidentified races. McMillis and others from the horse industry in Idaho told lawmakers the move could help save an industry that’s struggling financially; he said Idaho’s equine industry is a $1.2 billion industry.
The committee backed the bill and sent it to the full House for debate. It would allow spectators at tracks in Boise, Idaho Falls and Coeur d'Alene to wager on unidentified races run in the past, via terminals loaded with tens of thousands of historical races.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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