- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would create a new state agency to oversee and investigate gambling activities throughout the state.

The House State Affairs Committee introduced the proposal Wednesday with two Democratic members opposing. However, multiple members warned that they would not support the bill during a full legislative hearing.

Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher of Iona, chairman of the committee, says the agency would oversee Idaho tribal gaming, horse racing and state lottery gambling. The bill wouldn’t dissolve the state’s current racing and lottery commissions. Instead, it would create an additional gaming commission housed under the new agency.

Lawmakers have debated the need for closer gambling scrutiny in Idaho ever since slot-like machines known as historical horse racing terminals were deemed illegal last year.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has advocated the creation of a gaming commission that would help reinstate historical horse racing, but he did not include it in his annual address to lawmakers at the beginning of the session.

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