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Tribe Asks Court To Invalidate Idaho Governor's Gambling Bill Veto

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
''Instant racing'' machines are gambling devices based on historical horse races. They are currently legal in Idaho.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe says Idaho’s governor didn’t act fast enough in April when he vetoed a gambling bill the tribe supported and have asked the state Supreme Court to invalidate the veto.

Slot machines have been illegal in Idaho for decades. In fact, they are now banned in the state constitution. Then one day in 2013 the legislature passed a law that allowed “instant racing” machines -- gambling devices based on historical horse races.

But this year the legislature decided to ban them. Some people complained they were too close to slots, including The Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The Tribe operates its own casino under an agreement with the state.

The Republican Idaho legislature voted in comfortable majorities to make instant racing devices illegal again.

But Republican Governor Butch Otter reversed that reversal with the stroke of his veto pen and “Instant racing” machines were not banned after all.

But the tribe says the governor missed his deadline. They argued in a petition to the Idaho Supreme Court that the ban should go into effect because Otter didn’t deliver his decision to the Senate within the five days required by law.

A spokesman for Gov. Otter declined to comment.