Idaho House Re-opens Tribal Casino Issue Of Gaming Machines

Feb 8, 2017

A House committee will re-open the issue of gaming machines in tribal casinos in Idaho. It’s a contentious issue that has a long history in the state.

Even though the state has casinos, Idaho outlaws slot machines. But in 2002, Idaho tribes put a measure on the ballot to amend that law. It says the tribes can own and operate gambling terminals, if they do not have a lever and if they only cash out tickets, not coins.

Some lawmakers have said the tribes are using a loophole to get around the Idaho Constitution’s ban on casino-style gambling. 

But after multiple challenges, court rulings in 2006 and 2009 allowed tribes to keep those machines in their casinos. 

Wednesday, Representative Tom Loertscher introduced a bill to take out a key section of the 2002 law. If passed, his bill would effectively ban the gambling terminals from tribal casinos.

The House State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill.

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