Gov. Phil Batt’s legislation tightening up Idaho’s lottery law won introduction in a Senate committee Wednesday, before a large audience that included concerned tribal officials.
The measure seeks to make it clear that video gambling machines are illegal. Tribes contend the lottery law indirectly allows reservation casinos to operate the machines.
The Senate State Affairs Committee agreed unanimously to introduce the governor’s bill, but not without questions.
Tribes and the state disagree as to whether the reservation machines fall under the provisions of the lottery law. Federal law requires that sovereign Indian tribes be able to engage in any form of gambling that’s already legal in the state, as long as they sign a compact, or negotiated agreement, with the state.
Both the Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai tribes have compacts with the state. Both operate video gaming machines.
Batt’s bill says the lottery “shall not offer any video lottery or video pull-tab games or any similar electronic or electromechanical imitation or simulation of any form of gambling.”
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