The big Julyamsh Pow Wow held annually at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls has been cancelled, the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort announced Friday.
The announcement comes as four Indian tribes in Idaho press the state to outlaw electronic “instant racing” betting machines. One of the locations in the state that has the machines is the Greyhound Park and Event Center.
Heather Keen, public relations director of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe confirmed that the cancellation was the result of the instant racing controversy.
“The decision was made to move the powwow away from Greyhound Park because the Tribe cannot condone the illegal activity taking place there, nor can the Tribe condone the hostile and belligerent statements made recently by the Greyhound Park manager about the Tribe and Indian gaming,” she said.
The cancellation was announced by casino in a news release Friday afternoon. The release said the event is the largest outdoor pow wow in the Northwest and among the largest such events in the nation, with 1,600 participants and up to 30,000 spectators over three days. It’s been held in Post Falls for 17 years.
Allison Moses, operations manager at the Greyhound Park, said she hadn’t been notified that the Coeur d’Alene Casino was canceling the pow wow.
“It’s not anything from our end,” she said. “The Coeur d’Alene Casino runs it so check with them.”
Dave Matheson, CEO of the casino, said in the news release that the tribe hoped to hold the event on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, but “the lack of space outdoors and infrastructure necessary to conduct it, are given as reasons for the cancellation.”
“All of us here are deeply thankful for the support we’ve received from the Post Falls community and beyond,” the news release said. ” We don’t want to close the door to restoring Julyamsh in the future, but we will not be staging it this year.”
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe is one of four tribes that have asked Idaho Gov. Butch Otter to put an end to the slot-style instant racing machines, which allow people to wager on historical horse races for as little as a quarter. The tribes say slot machines are outlawed under the Idaho Constitution.
The Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office has asked the Post Falls Police Department to investigate the Greyhound Park’s machines, which could help resolve the legal question.
The Greyhound Park first installed the machines last summer, then added more in December. Another manager at the facility told The Spokesman-Review earlier this month that the tribes’ objections are about protecting their own casino revenues.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has asked Idaho lawmakers to consider a bill repealing the 2013 law that allowed the spread of the machines in the state.
Jonathan Brunt contributed to this report.
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