Lawmakers, racing commission divided on saving industry

Officials with the Idaho Racing Commission say they’ll run out of money by 2018, leaving them unable to regulate the state’s horse racing industry unless lawmakers help funnel funds their way.

However, top Republican leaders say they no longer trust the racing industry because of their ongoing efforts to reinstate illegal instant racing betting 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. Commissioners then promised to repeal all administrative rules regulating instant horse racing, but to date, have not done so.

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis says he won’t vote in favor of any commission-backed proposal until that promise is fulfilled.