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Old 02-15-2015, 10:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistyriver View Post
I really don't know if it will have any impact on equestrian services. I'm an English rider and really the only thing that we have in common with the horse racing world is "repurposing" the OTTTB's for hunters, jumpers and eventers. I'm assuming the western folks do the same with OTT Quarter Horses?

At least in northern Idaho, our vets, farriers etc aren't very dependent on the racing world. To be honest...I really had no idea there even was Idaho horse racing. It really is a whole different world from what I'm involved in.
Thanks, Misty. I'm not a horse person, although others in my family are. We're not that dependent on Horse Racing at the Race Tracks or the Historic Horse Racing either. However, more than 100 people in the Idaho Falls area earn their living this way. I'm just including the fact people are feeding their kids from what they earn from their work.

The Idaho Falls Mayor and City Council didn't take an official position. However, they sent a letter to the Legislature explaining the inter-dependence of the city using the Sandy Downs venue for many events throughout the year, not just horse racing. They wrote a strong letter of how the city, residents and visitors to the area would benefit from improvements at Sandy Downs.

It will be an interesting week to see what happens..........

MSR
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
28,470 posts, read 20,341,889 times
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I just watch the debate and the vote on this issue.

Several Senators went to the Le Bois track in Boise and used the machines. What they all said was the betting machines are slot machines in disguise.
Some of their reasons:
- while a historic race is shown on a 3x5 image on the screen, only the last 3 seconds of an historic race are shown.

- learning all the traditional assessments of a horse race- a horse's track record, track conditions, etc. are only shown as pie charts, which are difficult to bring up on the screen and only appear for about 4 seconds.

- the bettor's pool, which makes a race pari-mutual, has no info at all about its size, where and how the pool is created for a given race, or any other info.

- until the race is declared, a bettor can use the buttons to change his parameters, but has to do it very fast. The bet becomes a race of time against another bettor, who will win a larger amount than one who comes in second only through hitting his button a tiny fraction of a second slower than the first. Thus, the bet is no longer on the horse; it's on another bettor's reflexes.

- the machines that were represented to the Idaho Racing Commission in 2012, when this betting was first proposed, are not the ones in current use. The first generation displayed a much longer part of the race and showed more info.

Those who voted for repeal of the law believed all these factors, and others, made the law unworkable, so it should be repealed.

Those who were against repeal also had many valid reasons:
- at the time of passage, the Atty. General declared the law was faithful to the Idaho constitution.

- the problem was not in the law, it was in the lack of proper enforcement and oversight by the Idaho Racing Commission. The commission is an agency of Idaho Law Enforcement, and as such has the authority to require the machines to follow Idaho's laws.

- the Racing Commission has already begun an investigation through the Idaho State Police. At present, the investigation is incomplete.

- the industry has followed all the rules laid down by the law, and is all private business that has no government subsidies, assistance, or anything similar. It's completely free enterprise.

- in the first full year of operation, the industry has delivered over $2 million to the state treasury. Not all the money went straight into the treasury; a large part of it has gone to the Racing Commission, the Idaho Horse Board, and the local publicly built tracks which provide the electronic feed. This money is used to increase the purses of Idaho races on Idaho tracks, making Idaho more attractive to the racing industry, and to encourage the Idaho racing horse breeders.
The remainder of the funds do go straight to the treasury.

- the owners of these businesses also pay their other taxes and have added to the number of state free enterprise employers. To invalidate the law sends a message to prospective businesses looking at Idaho may find their investment into moving here to conduct lawful business may suddenly become invalid, leaving their financial investment thrown away to waste. Invalidating the law sends a discouraging message to new businesses.

- the problem is not in the law, it is in the machines, and Idaho has the means to correct it within the Racing Commission. They believe it is not the Senate's responsibility to micro-manage state agencies.

There was general agreement that the machines were disguised slots. There was a lot of agonizing as to who had proper constitutionality as to oversight. Some Senators believed it was the responsibility of Idaho's courts, while others maintained that, as creators of laws, the Senate has the greater right, as long as any law follows the state constitution.

There was a brief discussion over this. Idaho has already spent millions of dollars defending state laws that have been declared unconstitutional by higher courts, and some Senators said putting the expense of defense upon the shoulders of private business is an unfair burden to them, and burdens the state courts unnecessarily as well.

No one argued against the Idaho horse racing breeders or the racing industry itself. All agreed the industry is vital to Idaho's economy. Idaho is the 13th largest breeding industry in the nation, and 5th in pari-mutual betting.

In the end, the vote was 24 yes, 9 no. It was a very tough decision for them all, and I expect a new revised law will be forthcoming, but not in this session.

One important factor in how the betting happens was mentioned. The machines make betting a very fast process; a race is decided in 4 seconds. The average bettor places several bets a minute, on par with the speed of a slot machine. Everything about the machines promotes this betting speed.
An average length of time for a 1/4 mile race is about 4-5 minutes. A thoroughbred race lasts about 10 minutes. If the machines were faithful to these actual times, a lot less money would be moved in the same amount of time. The speed could make all the difference in a business' profitability.

The reason why these machines have become so popular is the obvious fact that the bettors like them. Going to the races is an all-day event for most who attend the racetracks, and a long day's race card is only about 14 to 20 races at max. These machines deliver that many race results in 1/4 of the time or less. Race tracks are losing money, so it's obvious what today's racing bettor wants. These days, racing is more gambling than sport.

Re-programming the current machines was mentioned, and I think this is probably what is going to happen. I think that a compromise can be achieved by re-programming; the last half of a race could be shown, the spinning wheels could be slowed way down, and the ding-ding-ding noise could be slowed as well. Pie charts and other racing displays could come up as part of the race, with no need for the bettor to search for them.

And, importantly, the odds and what creates them could be changed to closer conform to actual races.

While some Senators saw no sense in betting on a race that was run 3 years ago or longer, as a light racing fan, I would like the opportunity to bet on a historic race. I would like a chance to bet on Seattle Slew, for example, when he was first running, long before he became a Triple Crown winner. Other famous horses like Phar Lap never raced much in America, but were world famous, and still others, like Seabuscuit, who never ran the Triple Crown, ran for many years against the best competition. Films exist of many famous long-dead horses. Re-capturing the excitement of their historic wins is something I would enjoy.

Historic racing will always have ways to cheat, as the races all have records somewhere, somehow. Conducting historic races in a sports bar might have to require turning in a bettor's cell phone, tablet, or other internet device, along with making each race a mystery as to what race is run.

And, with no doubt, everything would slow down a lot. It may be possible to over come this by increasing the purses, by limiting the size of the pari-mutual pools and other ways, however. Since racing is exciting, it's possible that the excitement may replace the speed quite naturally, especially if the pay-off odds became more important.

Now that the law has been repealed, I can also see some lawsuits beginning long before the Legislature can come up with a new law. If I had committed a couple of million bucks into a sports bar that offered this, and followed the letter of the law as far as the Racing Commission stated what the requirements were, I would sue the state. I do not believe the state should not be so powerfully arbitrary. In fact, I would sue the Racing Commission, not the state directly. I think the commission failed to perform its legal duties at least in part.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:13 PM
 
Location: The City of Trees
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I just saw this on the local news. Wow to the state rep dude who is so against the machines. Time to change this in the state constitution.
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TohobitPeak View Post
I just saw this on the local news. Wow to the state rep dude who is so against the machines. Time to change this in the state constitution.
I don't think our constitution needs to be changed.
People like to make bets and gamble now and then, and I think our laws accommodate that human trait pretty well just as they are. I fully agree with our law- disallowing all the casino games is wise for present-day Idaho. After living in Nevada, I learned how easily addictive the slots and poker machines are; even those folks who aren't addicted drop far more change into them than they should because the machines are everywhere.

Horse racing IS important to Idaho's horse industry. We grow many superior horses of all types here, and the industry, which once depended on the small back-yard horse fanciers who owned a couple of horses and liked to use and show them has dramatically declined. All the money in the industry now is in the high bred registered stock, and there's nothing like a healthy racing industry to attract potential buyers of breeds like quarter horses, which are the most popular breed in the nation. We grow thousands of great quarter horses.

More importantly, a strong racing industry also attracts buyers of other breeds that aren't as obvious. Idaho also breeds a lot of very fine draft horses. The Pennsylvania horse industry sells more draft horses than thoroughbreds, and folks who need a good Shire to pull a plow or drag logs tend to think of Pennsylvania first, but an Idaho shire, bred in high altitude country that's rough and mountainous, can out perform a Pennsylvania Shire any day of the week and never break a sweat.

These days, a tractor costs 4 times more than a good Shire, and a healthy Shire will outlive a tractor. As more small farms shift to organic farming, the farmers are coming to learn one good draft horse will do better, for less money, and with no questions about its non-organic effects on the farm operation. Why not sell Idaho Shires in New York, or Ohio, or all those places where organic farming is now the way to farm?

Racing does the attraction. Once a person sees a good horse of any breed, the word gets out. A couple of great Shires smoothing the track gets as much attention as the Quarters and Thoroughbreds who speed down the same track a few minutes later.

After listening to the entire debate, it was obvious to me that the Senators didn't like the machines, not the law that allowed them. I don't think it would be all that hard or expensive to design a machine that conforms to the intent of the law; a different machine may affect the amount of revenue that the state receives, but folks are always going to gamble on horse races.

A different machine, more suited to horse racing, presents a lot of opportunity to some sharp Idaho company who can see the potential and make a machine that closely conforms to an actual race.

I can see a lot of potential money nationwide in modern horse racing parlors, the old equivalent of today's sports bars. Racing is the Sport of Kings. Build it and they will come.
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Del Rio, TN
38,216 posts, read 24,096,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistyriver View Post
I don't pay much attention to any of it either. Gambling seems like a stupid waste of time and money to me.
I agree, I won't even buy a lottery ticket, and the only time I've been to a casino is for dinner.

Having said that, the state has a bigoted practice right now, one that favors one race over all others. That should change. If gambling is legal on the reservations, or worse, on any piece of land owned by an Indian, it should be a legal business for everyone.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyman at Jewel Lake View Post
I agree, I won't even buy a lottery ticket, and the only time I've been to a casino is for dinner.

Having said that, the state has a bigoted practice right now, one that favors one race over all others. That should change. If gambling is legal on the reservations, or worse, on any piece of land owned by an Indian, it should be a legal business for everyone.
That's an ongoing dispute, as all Indian reservations are now quasi-independent agencies due to the treaties the Indian tribes signed with the white men while they were still independent tribes.

For sure, Idaho's native tribes are more accommodating to the laws of non-tribal land than many other tribes in many other states when it comes to gambling. And gambling alone is not the most serious legal dispute that's going on between the states and the tribes within them. Some states' tribes have become very strict on law enforcement matters on tribal lands, and do not allow any police forces to intervene on the tribal police's authority when it comes to criminal matters.

As far as i know, Idaho hasn't had very many of these problems, either. I'm just glad our native tribes have traditionally gotten along with the white man a lot better than in other states; the Shoshone, Bannock, Nez Perce always were less prone to go to war than a lot of tribes out here. Just be thankful we don't have a rez full of Crow, Northern Cheyenne, or many others in Idaho. Things could be much worse.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:03 PM
 
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Will attempt to inject a bit of clarity here.

To understand all that's going on, you need to read the Idaho Constitution as it relates to gambling, the ballot measure that was voted on to establish the Indian casinos, and the legislation that was passed allowing the historic racing machines.

1- The Constitution bans all slot machines, or the "simulation" or "imitation" of a slot machine.

2-The ballot measure passed on Indian casinos in 2002 established the conditions of the State/Tribal Compact that must exist in any state that has Indian casinos. In that ballot measure, it states the machines used in Idaho Indian casinos are "video gaming machines" and not considered slot machines. It also states this form of gambling in Idaho is exclusive to Indian casinos.

3- The legislation passed in 2013 allowing historic racing mentions nothing of "machines" in any form. There is a vague term of "rebroadcast by electronic means" that must have been the attempt to say "machines."


As this has played out, the Indians are claiming these "historic racing machines" violate their exclusive rights to "gaming machines" in the Idaho as established by the ballot measure passed in 2002 by the residents of Idaho. Further, the legislature in determining this session that historic racing should be repealed are going on the fact that what they were presented in 2013 as the historic racing machines look nothing like the actual machines now in use. The element of a horse race is marginal, at best. You have cherrys and sevens and bars, and bells and whistle that are at least "slot machine" like in appearance. Basically, a player can go through an extended process of playing the machines as if they were betting on a race, but 99.999999% of the players just push a button as fast as the machines allow, which can be once about every two seconds. Bottom line, these machines used to "rebroadcast by electronic means" look exactly like a slot machine thereby falling under the constitutional prohibition of "simulate" or "imitate".

Now, it is my understanding that "behind the curtain" the historic racing product functions as was presented to the legislature in 2013. Problems are these; they violate the Indian's rights relating to gambling machines, and violate the constitution in their simulation of a slot machine.

Personally, I hope this can be resolved to save horse racing in Idaho, but all sides are a long, long way from that ever happening. It's a shame the historic racing folks felt the need for these machines to look and act like slot machines so they would get the play, but they did, and so that's where all of this stands.
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Old 02-23-2015, 04:15 PM
 
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Question House Hasn't Voted Yet

Lots of good information Mike. Great post Toyman. Since this is your first post, bull dozer, with nothing listed on your profile page, I honestly do not know how to respond to your post.

My interest in this is from a business perspective. If the Legislature repeals this law, which was passed with many of the the Senate members viewing current terminals. It's the additional terminals have been ordered to expand that some are saying they weren't shown the older models. My understanding is they weren't on the market when the bill was passed.

To be repealed, the House would have to vote for the repeal as well. The House hasn't voted yet. For those who feel strongly about it, contact your rep in the House.

I think the businesses have acted in good faith. If the Legislature made an error passing the original bill then give the businesses time to make adjustments to the machines and find a compromises similar to what Mike wrote above. Actually, the initial vote on this received only one vote against repeal. To have eight more vote against repeal means more did not agree with repealing it.

This could still be a win/win for the Legislature and the businesses. How about a compromise of the Legislature passing a bill for the Gaming Commission to supervise and work with the Historical Horse Racing businesses to be in compliance? Those businesses still provide unique entertainment to the residents/ visitors of the communities they serve. Otherwise, it appears special interest and lobbying will shut these business ventures down.

What message does that send to other businesses looking to expand or open in ID? Which business will be on next year's Legislature agenda to eliminate from the state?


MSR
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:06 PM
 
15 posts, read 15,502 times
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Mtn. States, the problem is the Senate members never viewed the current terminals until they were installed. What they were shown (and I saw it because it was on display for several months at Les Bois Park) was an old style that had an actual historic horse race displayed on a large screen. That old style is no longer available because locations such as Kentucky Downs and Oaklawn Park (where they've been operating for some time) determined the machines would get much more play if more of a "slot machine" style was presented. Now, as I stated in my original post, my understanding is the current machines function in the necessary pari-mutual manner that is required, but it's the display that comes into question. No doubt that the installed machines "simulate" and "imitate" a slot machine thereby violating the Idaho Constitution.

Were it even possible to install the old style machines, it's already been proven they will not produce the needed revenue because they will not be played as these new ones are. It's a shame from a lot of fronts, but the operators erred badly in what was presented and what was actually installed. I hope for a resolution as I have many friends involved with horse racing in Idaho, but I'm stretched to see that resolution coming beyond out and out repeal of the law.
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:43 PM
 
8,440 posts, read 12,823,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bull dozer View Post
Mtn. States, the problem is the Senate members never viewed the current terminals until they were installed. What they were shown (and I saw it because it was on display for several months at Les Bois Park) was an old style that had an actual historic horse race displayed on a large screen. That old style is no longer available because locations such as Kentucky Downs and Oaklawn Park (where they've been operating for some time) determined the machines would get much more play if more of a "slot machine" style was presented. Now, as I stated in my original post, my understanding is the current machines function in the necessary pari-mutual manner that is required, but it's the display that comes into question. No doubt that the installed machines "simulate" and "imitate" a slot machine thereby violating the Idaho Constitution.

Were it even possible to install the old style machines, it's already been proven they will not produce the needed revenue because they will not be played as these new ones are. It's a shame from a lot of fronts, but the operators erred badly in what was presented and what was actually installed. I hope for a resolution as I have many friends involved with horse racing in Idaho, but I'm stretched to see that resolution coming beyond out and out repeal of the law.
So which side of the aisle will you be sitting, bull dozer? With so many friends involved, and indeed there are owners not being mentioned given other businesses they own and/or direct who aren't mentioned, will you support your friends or sit behind the state?

The fact some of the other businesses are owned by partners or financial backers of at least one of the three, and that other business is so important for high paying jobs and other business in the state. I doubt they would just say, " Oh well." and not do anything else.

Thanks for clarifying.

MSR
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