House State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher (R) spearheaded the effort to rob Indians of slot machine revenue in an effort that appeared to be motivated by revenge. Loertscher was apparently motivated by a 2015 effort on the part of tribal gaming interests to remove slot machines from Idaho race tracks, according to a report in Idaho Spokeman-Review.
Idaho Indian tribes have had the legal authority to host slot machines since 2002, when the Idaho State Legislature legalized Class III Gaming, which includes both state lotteries and slot machines on Indian land. This definition comes from the Federal Government and stands little chance of being revoked.
In 2015, Idaho’s gaming tribes led a successful effort to have slot machines removed from the state’s race tracks. That didn’t sit well with Loertscher whose transparent effort at revenge didn’t sit well with other Idaho lawmakers, including his fellow Republicans. Rep. Heather Scott (R) said simply:
There is no fiscal impact since there is no state or local excise tax on tribal gaming.
Loertscher’s Democratic peers were more forthright in their critiques of the Senator’s anti-Indian-slot-machine measure. Rep. Paulette Jordan (D) explained it to the Statesman by correctly stating:
The issue here is, I think, a personal matter with our chairman. I don’t know if this bill will make it out of committee.
Senators rejected the measure along party lines in an 8-7 vote.
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