Legislation headed to the full House could, if approved, provide an economic boost to horse-racing facilities in Idaho, including Les Bois at Expo Idaho.
"This is a way that would generate revenue for both the state and the horse racers," said Jim Bernard, manager for Ida Racing at Sandy Downs in Idaho Falls. "We'd have the ability to create extra funding."
"The revenue model as it exists today just does not work and will not work in the future without legislative relief," said Treasure Valley Racing President Jim Grigsby. "Competition from … (wagering) from home computers or other locations, the state lottery and other forms of entertainment have had a significant and prolonged negative impact on our business."
The measure, which also would allow historical wagering in Coeur d'Alene, was approved Thursday by House State Affairs Committee.
Republicans Brent Crane of Nampa and Ken Andrus of Lava Hot Springs opposed the measure, the only opponents on the 16-member committee.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Historical horse racing, a form of pari-mutuel wagering, allows betting on previously recorded races. The contests are chosen at random from a database containing more than 200,000 races.
Customers are shown odds and statistics for each horse before placing their bets.
Should their horse win, customers receive a payout based on the odds, the size of the wager and that day's purse.