Idaho voters to decide on historic horse racing terminals in Proposition 1

BOISE, Idaho - Its a decision that Idahoans will have to decide on this upcoming election, and the race to sway voters on Proposition 1 is beginning to heat up as the election nears. Ads from competing sides, Idaho United Against Prop 1, and Save Idaho Horse Racing, have begun airing and folks are starting to pay attention to their messaging.

The proposition, if passed, would bring back historical horse racing terminals, a system of pari-mutuel gambling in which folks bet on horse races that have already taken place.

The full text of the proposition can be read here.

Historic horse racing used to be legal in the state of Idaho, the legislature approved it back in 2013. The law was changed in 2015 however, when legislators decided the terminals used to bet resembled slot machines, which goes against the state constitution.

Proponents of the bill say passing the proposition would help the declining horse racing industry recover, support jobs and also provide money to the public schools. According to the proposition .05 percent of all HHR betting would be given to public schools.

According to the Idaho State Racing Commission, in 2014, when HHR was legal, it brought in nearly $200,000 for public schools and that was at just three tracks. The next year, which was a partial year because the law changed, it brought in nearly $520,000.

Opponents of the proposition argue that the ads run by Save Idaho Horse Racing are misleading and are trying to hide what the proposition is all about.

"To tout this proposition as an education or jobs bill, is just wrong," said Ken Andrus, the chairman of Idaho United Against Prop 1, and former state legislator who voted against it the first time, "this is a gambling bill that will enable terminals to be spread throughout the state of Idaho."

The proposition would allow terminals at any track that has at least eight live races a year.

Firing back, the spokesman of the campaign for the proposition says its as much about saving the horse racing industry as it is about gambling.

'Its really hypocritical for the opponents of prop one to say we shouldn't approve more gaming, we are a gaming state like it or not," said spokesman Todd Dvorak.

He goes on to say that the competing campaign is supported by the casino's who just want less competition.

To go to the Save Idaho Horse Racing website click here.

To go to the Idaho United Against Prop 1 website click here.