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Politics & Government

Idaho Horsemen Still Fighting To Revive Industry

Les Bois Park Live Horse Racing
Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's horsemen groups are urging the state's racing commission to sign off on a last-ditch effort to save their faltering industry after failing to convince the Legislature to reinstate lucrative betting machines known as instant racing terminals.

John Sheldon, the operator of Idaho's largest horse racing track, told commissioners Wednesday that they already have the authority to allow tracks to use instant racing terminals.

Instant horse racing allows bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information. Lawmakers banned the practice in 2015 after concerns were raised the machines resembled illegal slot machines.

However, Sheldon says that the commission approved virtual horse racing — similar to instant racing — in 2008 through a rule-making process. Sheldon argues that the commission should use that precedence to approve instant racing applications.

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