Historical horse racing could be on November ballot

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 20:13:21-04

Supporters of "historical horse racing", or "instant racing", are close to getting a measure on the November ballot, hoping to legalize the machines in the near future.

Boxes of signatures to get the initiative on the ballot were dropped at the Secretary of State's office today, in Boise. 

Supporters say the measure wouldn't just legalize the gambling machines, it would make it easier for live horse racing at places like Les Bois Park to financially survive in Idaho.

"The machines allow us to get that purse money up, which then attracts better horses, better riders, better trainers, you know, it's all just really interwoven," said jockey Nikeela Black, a supporter of the ballot initiative.

Idaho's legislature once approved the machines in 2013, only to ban them two years later. Governor Butch Otter vetoed the ban, but the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that Otter waited too long for the veto, throwing out the Governor's attempt to save the practice.

Advocates for the initiative say they dropped off more than 60 thousand signatures today. The Secretary of State will now begin the process of validating those signatures and making sure they fulfill the requirement of representing 6 percent of registered voters in at least 18 of Idaho's 35 legislative districts. Supporters say they've met those requirements.