Supporters of a horse racing ballot initiative raised the stakes Thursday, unveiling a foundation that could provide some money for college scholarships.
Treasure Valley Racing pledged to put 100 percent of its profits from operations at Les Bois Park into The Treasure Valley Racing Foundation for Rural Idaho. The profits would include proceeds from wagering on historical horse racing — which sits at the heart of the contentious debate over the ballot initiative.
Supporters of the initiative — Proposition One on the Nov. 6 ballot — say wagering at historical horse racing terminals is needed to support live horse racing, at tracks such as Les Bois. Opponents of the initiative point out that horse racing is already legal in the state, but the betting terminals have been banned because they resemble slot machines, which are unconstitutional.
Treasure Valley Racing owners put $100,000 of seed money into their fledgling foundation. They said the money could go into several areas — including college scholarships and financial aid, with an emphasis on students in agriculture, animal science or equine studies. Money could also go to 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs, or nonprofit groups that support rural education.
Treasure Valley Racing co-owner Robert Rebholtz Jr. said it’s too early to estimate how much money would go to the foundation.
“What we can say is that every dime of net income … will be solely given to charities,” Rebholtz said Thursday. “No ifs, ands, or buts.”
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