Idaho reinforces battle against tribal casinos

The House State Affairs Committee already approved the bill, but with shared hesitation.

A bill limiting gaming operations in native tribes’ casinos was introduced yesterday in Idaho.

US.- Tom Loertscher, Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, introduced yesterday a gambling amendment project to limit the casino operations among native tribal venues. The bill has already been approved by the House State Affairs Committee, although officials showed certain concern.

State’s Representative Loertscher proposed an amendment that would prohibit the installation of video gambling terminals with real money in tribes’ casinos. Currently, gambling legislation in Idaho is under dispute among officials and operators. Although the proposal obtained the support of several legislators, Representative Paulette Jordan, a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, commented that it is not necessary.

The State’s regulation contemplates native tribal bingo and lottery as legal gambling, although it does not establish a clear definition on what types of games are allowed. “We’ve been bothered by several gambling issues over the last few years,” stated Loertscher, chairman of the House panel, in the local media. “This is a major policy thing that we need to address.”

In 2002, native operators achieved the legalisation of gaming machines in their casinos by arguing they are not slot machines as they not dispense coins. Yesterday’s amendment would end this consideration by banning any kind of gaming machines in tribes’ casinos. “We simply can’t have any statute that would attempt to override the constitution,” concluded Representative Steven Harris.