Opponents of further gambling expansion give advance notice of opposition to online gambling legalisation
Concerns over land gambling company contributions to Idaho governor Butch Otter’s political campaign has spilled over into opposition to further gambling expansion in the state, and warnings that any attempt to legalise online gambling will be opposed.
The Twin Falls Times-News reported over the weekend that gambling moguls Steve Wynn, Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta contributed the maximum allowed under Idaho law to Otter’s campaign last month at a Sun Valley fundraiser.
Their companies, Wynn Resorts and Station Casinos, respectively, also gave the limit, as did Wynn’s wife, Andrea. The four individuals and two companies each gave $5,000 to both Otter’s primary and general election campaigns, for a total of $60,000.
Otter is running this year for a third term.
Two leading anti-gambling lawmakers seized on the publicity to restate their opposition to any legalisation of online gambling, despite Otter’s assurances that he remains opposed to such a move.
Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill was blunt in his warning, saying: "I don’t mind sending them a message to say stay out and leave us alone."
Hill said he would support any measure to prevent the legalisation of online poker, although he would not introduce it personally.
He was joined by House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, who predicted that any push for online gaming would meet stiff resistance.
Loertscher said if there was any hint that internet gaming interests were planning to move into Idaho, he’d expect consideration of a statutory ban, a step already taken in Utah and Maine.
The Twin Falls Times-News notes that Idaho law permits a state-run lottery; pari-mutuel horse racing; video racing at tracks in Boise, Post Falls and Idaho Falls; and gaming on Indian reservations.
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