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Eye On Boise

Instant racing operators gave big to Otter’s campaigns, four times as much as CdA Tribe donated

As lawmakers await word from Gov. Butch Otter on a possible veto of SB 1011, the bill to repeal “instant racing” in Idaho – which led to slot machine-like terminals being installed at three locations in the state, surprising lawmakers who didn’t think they’d authorized that when they voted in 2013 to allow wagering on “historical horse racing,” or races from the past – a look at campaign finance records yields some interesting numbers.

Since 2000, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which proposed SB 1011, has donated $22,000 to Otter’s campaigns. But the principals behind the “instant racing” operations have donated $92,200 – more than four times as much.

Here’s how that breaks down: Winning for Idaho, the political arm of Coeur d’Alene Racing in Post Falls, donated $20,000 to Otter’s campaigns. The seven principals in Treasure Valley Racing, current operator of Les Bois Park near Boise, gave $72,200 to Otter’s campaigns in the same time period. That includes $26,000 from Harry Bettis; $23,500 from Larry Williams; $13,000 from Linda Yanke; $6,000 from Robert Rebholtz Jr.; $2,450 from Jim Grigsby; and $1,250 from John Sheldon. All this is according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office.

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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