Instant racing, the type of electronic horse race betting game recently banned in Idaho, has been shut down in Wyoming, at least temporarily.
In the games, players bet on previously run horse races, winnings allegedly determined by the original race. But Wyoming Attorney General Peter K. Michael issued an opinion last week that says the games are parimutuel but the “bonus” rounds are not, according to a news report from the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky.
At the request of the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, Michael examined the legality of several games. He wrote that the games in use were legal to an extent under current Wyoming statute, but all also involved outcomes determined “by events that are non-parimutuel in nature and based upon total chance.”
The Wyoming opinion said the bonus rounds used in many of the games appear to use random events to determine whether a player wins or loses.
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In the wake of that opinion, the instant racing, also historic horse racing, terminals in Wyoming were shut off Sunday. The state’s parimutuel commission has scheduled a meeting for Thursday to consider ways to make the games conform to Wyoming law.
In 2013, the Wyoming legislature passed bills specifically to allow the terminals, which have been credited with bolstering live racing.
Idaho’s instant racing terminals went dark last month, following a two-year tumultuous ride that began when the Legislature approved the gambling terminals in March 2013. Following doubts about the legality of the devices, which mimic slot machines, the Legislature repealed instant racing in March. Gov. Butch Otter vetoed the legislation, but his fumbled veto process led to a court challenge. The Idaho Supreme Court on Sept. 10 ruled Otter’s veto was invalid and the law repealing instant racing stands.