Jonathan Krutz with the group Stop Predatory Gambling told the House State Affairs Committee that gambling is dangerous to people and economies. “There’s an army of people behind me that are not going to come before this committee that are devastated by gambling,” he said. “It’s certainly true that gambling has enriched the tribes, but it has done so at the expense of the local economies. They’re not bringing new money into the economy, they’re just taking money out of the economy and putting it into a different place.” Committee Vice Chair Jason Monks advised Krutz to stick to the bill.
“Gambling increases crime, it increases embezzlement, it increases bankruptcy,” Krutz told the committee. “There’s a reason why our Constitution says that gambling is prohibited. It’s having a very negative impact. … People who are addicted, who can’t control their gambling, they’re not there to win and they’re not there to be entertained, they go into a zone.” Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, objected to the testimony on a point of order, and Monks again cautioned Krutz to address the bill. “The concern that I have is that our laws are not being respected,” Krutz said. “Are we going to honor an Idaho statute that violates our Constitution? … You can’t just define away pieces of the Constitution, and that’s what this statute does.”
With that, the committee had run out of time for today’s hearing – though there still were another 10 or so people signed up to testify. Monks announced that the panel would adjourn until 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, when it will continue the hearing. Only those already signed up today will be allowed to testify tomorrow; no new signups will be taken. “We apologize for the inconvenience,” Monks said, “but this is an important issue, and I think you can see that the committee is doing a great job of doing their due diligence and asking the questions.”
The House is now due on the floor for its morning session.