With 905 precincts out of 959 precincts reporting as of 6 a.m. Wednesday, results show approving historical horse racing terminals at Idaho race tracks is behind:
The initiative, Proposition 1, received enough signatures in July to be on the Nov. 6 ballot. It generated millions of dollars in campaign spending from both sides of the issue and attracted high-profile endorsements, including from Gov. Butch Otter, who said he hoped it would rejuvenate Idaho’s “diminished” live horse racing industry.
If approved, Idaho race tracks with live or simulcast racing would be able to use the machines, which will generate revenue to make purses more attractive.
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Opponents to the initiative said allowing the machines is basically legalizing non-reservation gambling by another name.
Historical horse racing terminals include a tiny screen that shows a few seconds of the end of a randomly selected past horse race, as reels spin, bells ring, and bettors win or lose. The machines also are called “instant racing” machines and have helped other states revitalize their horse racetracks.
The Idaho Legislature briefly allowed the use of the machines before banning them in 2015 after seeing their similarity to slot machines. Les Bois Park, formerly Idaho’s largest horse-racing venue, shuttered after that.
Prop 1 would allow unlimited numbers of the machines at one location in each of Idaho’s 44 counties that hosts eight days or more of live horse racing. It would also allow unlimited numbers of the machines at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls, a former dog-racing track.
Nicole Foy covers Canyon County and Hispanic affairs. You can reach her at 208-465-8107 and follow her on Twitter @nicoleMfoy