BOISE – The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has delivered a six-page legal demand letter to Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, asking him to certify the instant racing repeal bill as the law of the state.
Gov. Butch Otter vetoed the bill, which would ban gambling machines like those in use at the Greyhound Park and Event Center in Post Falls, but he waited three days after his veto before delivering the vetoed bill back to the Idaho Senate. That went past the five-day time limit set by the Idaho Constitution – which says if the governor doesn’t sign the bill within five days, excluding Sundays, or return it vetoed, it becomes law without his signature.
“The law doesn’t give Secretary Denney a choice in the matter. It is not a matter of personal discretion,” Tribal Chairman Chief Allan said in a news release. “As a constitutional officer of the state of Idaho, it’s his official duty to follow Idaho law.”
There was no immediate response from Denney on Friday; his office said he was gone until Monday and wouldn’t comment before then.
The bill repeals a law passed two years ago to allow wagering on “historical” horse races, or previously run races.
Racing advocates told lawmakers that would bring in extra money to boost purses for live racing at Idaho tracks. But lawmakers weren’t prepared for the slot machine-like “instant racing” machines that were installed earlier this year and suggested they’d been deceived about the tracks’ intent two years earlier.
The machines were installed at three locations around the state. In addition to Greyhound Park, they’re at Les Bois Park near Boise and the Double Down Betting Bar & Grill in Idaho Falls.
The tribe, which operates its own reservation casino under a negotiated gaming compact with the state and a voter-approved initiative that passed in 2002, proposed the repeal bill, and it passed both houses with veto-proof majorities.
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