A yes vote on Prop 1 saves an industry and jobs, and benefits Idaho
PROP 1 IS ALSO ABOUT FAIRNESS; WE SEEK TO ELIMINATE AN INDEFENSIBLE DOUBLE STANDARD WHEN IT COMES TO DEFINING THE LEGALITY OF GAMING TERMINALS.
As the owners of Treasure Valley Racing, we know that a thriving horse racing industry brings many benefits to Idaho. These include hundreds of jobs, vibrant rural communities, money for public schools and more than $50 million in annual economic activity. In the process, we believe Idaho can become a leading horse racing state in the West, attracting horse farms from other states and providing economic growth and investment opportunities to rural communities throughout the state.
Proposition 1 is also about allowing the people to right a political wrong. In 2013, the Legislature authorized historical horse racing, giving the horse racing industry a shot in the arm by creating larger purses, attracting more horses and creating more race days. Historical racing was a known and proven solution in states such as Kentucky, Wyoming, Arkansas and Oregon. Unfortunately, the Legislature reversed course in 2015, pulling the rug out from an industry on the rebound. Les Bois Park has been closed ever since and many Idahoans lost their jobs.
Prop 1 is also about fairness; we seek to eliminate an indefensible double standard when it comes to defining the legality of gaming terminals. Today, Idaho Lottery and tribal video gaming machines have been deemed constitutional, despite their similarity to slot machines. Proposition 1 contains the language that voters approved in 2002, when tribal gaming machines were authorized. That language reaffirms that the mere appearance of a gaming machine does not constitute “an electronic or electromechanical imitation or simulation of any form of casino gambling.” By the same token, the Prop 1 ballot language affirms that racing terminals are not slots — they are fundamentally different because of the parimutuel or pooled nature of betting (as opposed to betting against the house) and the fact that winners aren’t determined by random number generation.
The Coeur d’alene Casino and other out-ofstate casinos are funding a $6-million campaign full of lies and hypocrisy to fight Prop 1. In a desperate attempt to protect their monopoly, the casinos have the audacity to try to scare Idahoans about horse racing and terminals, while spending millions generated by their own gaming machines. Prop 1 limits the use of terminals by allowing them only at race track facilities that run at least 8 race days/year — facilities that are required to obtain a state license and appropriate local city and county approvals — and one existing simulcast location.
The big casinos allege that we, the sponsors of Prop 1, are “guaranteed a profit” at 18 times that which is contributed to schools. This is laughably false, ignoring the reality that most of the revenue goes to paying salaries, taxes, purses, track maintenance and upgrades, and other operating costs. Prop 1 assures, through a transparent and accountable process, that the public will see where the money goes, including millions of dollars for our public schools — money that schools otherwise wouldn’t have. In bringing complete transparency to our motivations, we announced that we will contribute 100 percent of all profits to the Treasure Valley Racing Foundation for Rural Idaho. This foundation’s charter is to provide financial support for college scholarships, youth programs (4H and FFA) and rural health care needs.
All five of us, the sole funders of Prop 1, are native Idahoans who share a passion for horse racing and a love for the people involved in the sport. We would love nothing more than to pass on this great sport to Idaho’s future generations, while also providing financial support for education and youth programs. Please join us in voting “yes” on Proposition 1, and help us save an iconic Idaho industry for generations to come.
Harry Bettis, Larry Williams, Linda Yanke, Robert Rebholtz, Jr. and John Sheldon are the owners of Treasure Valley Racing, operators of Les Bois Park.
From left are Robert Rebholtz Jr., Harry Bettis, Linda Yanke, Larry Williams and John Sheldon, the people behind Treasure Valley Racing, which operates Les Bois Park in Garden City.