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Idaho Didn’t Pass the Anti-Tribal Gambling Law
- February 27, 2017 By Oliver Young -
Idaho is one of the states that doesn’t often make the news when it comes to casinos gambling related topics. However, there has been a rather controversial legal proposal that was rejected and the state’s tribal casino operators were pretty happy with that turn of events.
Tribes in many states have been looking forward to expand their operations, some are even looking towards establishing online operations. More than a year ago, one tribe in Oklahoma submitted a request for establishing an online poker website, whereas last year, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe expressed its desire to construct a new resort in the area of Boston.
Idaho tribes were not asking new concessions, instead they were just hoping that a bill that was completely unfavourable for them would be rejected. And it was rejected, by a pretty narrow margin.
Idaho Tribes Relieved
If the proposed bill was passed it would’ve amended a law that legalised tribal casinos throughout the state. The proponents of the bill claimed that their goal is not to abolish tribal casinos, but just put a limit on the type of gambling that can be offered by tribes in their casinos. Opponents of the bill claimed that the bill will cause the de-legalisation of all forms of gambling.
The tribal community also rejected the law, and their opinion was that its passing will seriously endanger the position of the Idaho Native tribes and their economies. A representative of an organisation dedicated to economic development from the state claimed that Idaho’s economy has benefitted from tribal gambling and casinos and that as a result of the investments in the industry, a number of jobs have been generated.
It would’ve been a truly serious blow to the local economy as the total casino investment in Idaho amounted to $1 billion.
Most Representatives Were Sceptical Regarding the Aim of the Bill
Some of the representatives of the Idaho Native tribes were very vocal in their criticism. One of them said that this is an attempt to undermine the position of Indians in Idaho, adding that whenever the Native community achieves a certain degree of success or progress, there is an attempt to challenge that position with some sort of an obstacle.
Another representative said that it was very unfortunate that such a bill was even put forward, adding that it is still a positive thing that it was rejected. The bill was rejected with 8 votes against and 7 in favour.
The representatives who voted against the bill stated, on more than one occasion, that they are unsure of the purpose of the bill and the need to propose such a solution, as the decision to legalise tribal gambling in the state was approved by voters and upheld by both a state and a federal court.
Representative Loertscher said that the aim of the bill was not to ban tribal gambling but to regulate the types of gambling machines that the tribes can offer in their locations, adding that if the gambling machines in question are in accordance with the constitution, the tribes have nothing to fear.