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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘What matters is how they work,’ ‘What we have isn’t what was represented’

More testimony from today's instant racing repeal hearing:

Nikeela Black, a jockey and attorney from Boise who won 60 races at Les Bois Park last summer, said, “No matter what the terminals themselves look like, what matters is how they work, which in fact is a pari-mutuel fund.” She said, “Historical racing holds great promise for reviving an Idaho-bred breeders program.” She said, “I kept my horses here this year.” She noted that she was late for today’s hearing because she had a foal born this morning.

John Evans, mayor of Garden City, said he listened with interest to testimony on Monday about how the “instant racing” machines work. “Those items don’t adequately address, in my mind, what the principal issue is, which is the Idaho Code is authorized under the Idaho Constitution.” He noted the definitions of pari-mutuel and simulcast in Idaho law. “From my perspective, the language of the statute is clear. It means a specific race,” he said. Then, he cited the Idaho Constitution, and said people who go to Les Bois Park think they’re in a casino. “There’s a perception issue here, and a very serious one, I believe. … What we have isn’t what was represented.”

Trina Fackrell of Blackfoot also quoted from the same section of state law. “The wagers on these terminals are based on the outcome of a race,” she said. “This does not state everyone must bet on the same race. Nowhere in the statute do you see the word ‘same.’ The monies are put into a pool. They are not wagering against the house.” Fackrell said her dad raised thoroughbreds and she’s been involved in horse racing her whole life, working in Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico. “With the passing of historical racing, I declined a job in Texas this year to come back and be involved in our own state’s industry.” Fackrell said even people placing bets on live races at horse racetracks don't need to have skill to place a wager; they can buy a "quick pick" trifecta ticket. She said, "Racing has a vast, vast economic impact here," and added, "This is not going to harm tribal gaming. It's not going to take away from the tribes." 




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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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