- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that Idaho must pay the Coeur d’Alene Tribe about $57,000 in legal fees in a case involving the legality of lucrative betting machines known as instant horse racing.

The order, issued on Wednesday, is just more than half of the tribe original $97,000 request.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter earlier this year vetoed legislation banning historical horse race betting machines. However, the tribe argued that Otter didn’t complete the veto in time and the high court agreed.

That meant the legislation could go into effect, forcing horse racing parks to unplug more than 200 of the instant horse racing terminals.

In the most recent ruling, Chief Justice Jim Jones argued that the amount should have been even lower because the case never went to trial and the parties only spent one hour in court to argue their sides.

“Perhaps I understate the issue when I assert that anybody with five fingers and a calendar can determine whether a veto is timely returned; it is not, however, understated by much,” Jones wrote in his dissent. “It is inconceivable to me how anybody could expend almost $100,000 briefing and arguing that issue. I would extend my limits of ‘reasonableness’ to a maximum of attorney fees of $25,000.”

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information. The machines have spinning wheels, sounds and animations that mimic slot machines - which are illegal in Idaho.

The machines that were installed in Idaho have since been turned off because of the court’s ruling. This has led many horse racing officials to say that live horse racing will fade out in Idaho because they won’t get the needed cash instant racing provided.



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