Wasden: It may be time for state gaming commission

Call a horse a horse.

That’s what Attorney General Lawrence Wasden had to say about Idaho gaming. During an interview with Idaho Reports on Thursday, Wasden said it might be time to establish a gaming commission in Idaho that has regulatory authority. (Watch an excerpt of the interview here.)

In the discussion with Idaho Reports co-host Aaron Kunz, Wasden went over the history of Idaho’s instant horse racing controversy, noting the machines his office said fell within the confines of pari mutuel betting in 2013 aren’t the machines being used today.

Wasden noted the other types of gaming in this state, such as tribal gaming, horse racing and bingo, and said the attorney general has no authority to regulate any of it.

“So the question is do we have gaming in this state? The answer is yes, we do,” Wasden said. “Perhaps the time has come to have a gaming commission that actually then has the authority, ability and power to regulate that.”

“I don’t have the authority to regulate gaming. In fact, when either the citizens pass an initiative or the Legislature passes a statute, my job is to defend that statute whether I agree or disagree,” Wasden continued. “Whether I think it will pass constitutional muster or not, I have the duty to present the legal arguments on behalf of that policy choice embedded into the law.”

For more of Wasden’s interview, watch this week’s Idaho Reports, 8 pm Mountain Time/ 7 pm Pacific Time, tonight on Idaho Public Television. You can also watch on idahoptv.org. 


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