Double Down Betting Bar and Grill is celebrating its first anniversary this weekend, and it’s been a year full of controversy surrounding instant horse racing.
It was a huge topic in the 2015 legislative session. The concern is that historical instant horse racing violates the state constitution because lawmakers say the machines are too similar to slot machines.
“It is absolutely not a slot machine. It’s a pari-mutuel wager. People can affect the outcome, they can handicap the race if they want to,” said Melissa Bernard, CEO o fIntermountain Racing. “You know a slot machine runs on a random number generator. You play against the house. That is not what we offer here at all. The customers are playing in a pool against other customers.”
In 2014 the state Legislature passed a bill allowing pari-mutuel betting on historic horse races. Lawmakers said they had a different understanding of how this would work.
The legislature voted to ban the machines and the governor vetoed that bill.
But there’s a legal question as to whether he vetoed in it time, and now that question is before the courts.
“The courts will ultimately decide this issue,” said Rep. Linden Bateman, (R) Idaho Falls. “I am confident that the courts will agree with the Legislature that these machines too closely resemble slot machines.”