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Tuesday, November 12, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Otter meeting with all sides on instant racing repeal; says he has ‘til Saturday afternoon to decide

Gov. Butch Otter said today that he’s met so far with at least seven groups either supporting or opposing SB 1011, the bill to repeal “instant racing” in Idaho. “I’ve made a commitment to meet with every interest group,” Otter told reporters this morning. “I’ve met so far with at least seven; I have two more to go. Plus every legislator” who has concerns and wants to talk with him.

Otter wouldn’t say whether he’d sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. “We have until 4:54 on Saturday afternoon,” he said.

Today’s Idaho Statesman reported that horse racing supporters who oppose the bill have been threatening the business of the son of a lawmaker, Simon Vander Woude, who operates a feed and tack store in Meridian. “I honestly never knew there was a vote,” the younger Vander Woude of Legacy Feed and Fuel told Statesman reporter Bill Dentzer; Vander Woude’s father is House Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, who voted with the majority in the 49-21 House vote on the bill. Simon Vander Woude told the Statesman he found out about it when an irate horse owner came into the store cursing him and his employees and vowing to run him out of business. “I don’t think that they understand,’’ he said. “My dad’s a representative, but I never talk to him about vote stuff.” The Statesman’s full report is online here.

Idaho lawmakers in 2013 authorized wagering on “historical” horse races, or replays of past races. But they said they didn’t anticipate the slot machine-like “instant racing” machines that were installed in three locations in Idaho this year under the bill; SB 1011 repeals the 2013 law. Hundreds of the machines have been installed at Les Bois Park near Boise.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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