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Hearing blocked for Idaho horsemen group bill

Posted at 12:05 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 19:11:55-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A coalition of Idaho's horsemen groups say their best hope out of financial ruin can't even get out of the gate because lawmakers are unwilling to consider reapproving lucrative betting machines known as instant racing.

The Idaho Horsemen's Coalition announced Tuesday a proposal that would create a state gaming commission to license and regulate electronic gaming while also permitting instant racing terminals to operate in Idaho. The bill would not include oversight of the state lottery.

Instant horse racing allows bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information.

The Idaho Legislature made instant racing illegal last year after some lawmakers argued the terminals resembled slot machines. Supporters say the repeal placed their horse racing industry in jeopardy because it cut off a primary source of revenue.

Despite drafting a bill, the horsemen coalition has not yet been able to secure an introduction hearing.