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Eye On Boise

North Idaho community leaders appeal to Otter, Wasden to halt ‘instant racing’

A group of 17 North Idaho community leaders, including Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer; former Mayor Sandi Bloem; Ron Nilson, president of Ground Force Worldwide, a Post Falls manufacturing firm; Mark Browning, vice president of North Idaho College; and former Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson; have sent a letter to Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden strongly opposing the new “instant racing” machines that have cropped up at locations including the Greyhound Park Event Center in Post Falls.

“This new form of casino gaming, called Instant Racing, has been determined in several states to be nothing more than illegal video slot machines attempting to pass as horse racing,” the group wrote. “If Instant Racing is not stopped, we could see these installed in one location in every county in the state.” They added, “Furthermore, these new off-reservation casinos will directly harm one of the largest employers and economic drivers in North Idaho – the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.”

“As community members, we can attest to the positive impacts the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has on our community and we have seen firsthand how far the Tribe has come in the twenty years since the Coeur d’Alene Tribe brought gaming to their reservation,” the letter says. “Today, the Tribe employs nearly 2,000 people in north Idaho and helps fuel our region’s economy. We applaud them for being such responsible managers of their gaming operation and we count them as a strong and essential community partner.”

You can read the full letter here.

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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