Passing of bill could mean lights out for one Post Falls busines - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Passing of bill could mean lights out for one Post Falls business

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POST FALLS, Idaho -

Governor Otter's signature is all that's keeping the lights on for one Post Falls business. On Thursday the Idaho House voted to approve the repeal of instant racing machines. Greyhound Park and Event Center is one of three businesses that have the machines. General Manager Doug O'Kuniewicz says they bring in roughly half of the daily profit.

"That's the profit engine for racing in the state," says O'Kuniewicz.

O'Kuniewicz has testified in the past to both the House and the Senate, pleading with them to uphold legislation that deems the machines constitutional. Otherwise, he says he has to consider another serious means of income or possibly selling the building.

"That's a real concern," says O'Kuniewicz. "We've hung on for years now operating at a loss with the primary goal of finding something like this to help keep the business going."

The games, approved by the racing commission came under fire by the Coeur d' Alene tribe because tribal leaders felt the machines were not "para-mutual wager". Meaning, unlike the randomness of a slot machine, players use some sort of skill and knowledge to win, much like an actual horse race. O'Kuniewicz, however, feels the opposition came because they look like slot machines with spinning wheel imagery. According to state law, machines that look like gambling simulation are not allowed.

"Spinning wheel imagery, whether or not that constitutes an imitation or simulation of casino gambling...it gets awfully lawyerly," says O'Kuniewicz.

If Governor Otter decides to repeal the machines, O'Kuniewicz will have to turn them off by July 1st.

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