Idaho House panel introduces bill limiting Indian gaming

A decades old fight over appropriate Indian gaming has once again reappeared in the Idaho Legislature.

Rep. Tom Loertscher, a Republican from Iona, is backing legislation that would ban lucrative video gaming terminals on the tribe’s casinos.

In 2002, Idaho voters passed a ballot initiative that included specific language that said as long as the tribe’s machines do not have a lever or dispense coins — only cash out tickets– then the machines could not be defined as a slot machine and nor are they a simulation of casino gambling. Loertscher’s bill would remove key sections of the law.

The House State Affairs Committee tepidly introduced the proposal Wednesday. However, multiple members expressed concerns that the bill will only resurface old wounds in the state’s ongoing fight to regulate gaming.