Racing machines investigation continues

Gov. Otter is considering appointing a new statewide investigator

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POST FALLS - The Post Falls Police will continue to investigate the legality of video horse racing machines at least until the governor appoints a new statewide investigator.

Police Chief Scot Haug said his department has been investigating the legality of the machines for a few months now, but the investigation is technical and time-consuming.

On Monday, Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a bill that would have rendered the machines illegal, and urged the Legislature to work with him to appoint an outside investigator to determine the legality of the machines.

At issue is whether the machines legally meet the legislative intent of a law that passed in 2013 that authorized the use of the machines.

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe has also questioned whether the machines were legal from a constitutional standpoint.

"We still have an active investigation," Haug said. "If the governor does appoint an investigator, we would stand behind that and assist in whatever way we can."

Haug said it would be preferable to have a statewide investigation, but until then he plans to meet with the county prosecutor to discuss the next steps in the investigation.

If Otter doesn't appoint an investigator, Haug said the investigation could become costly because he would have to bring in experts to help analyze the machines.

Otter's press secretary, Jon Hanian, said the governor is going to work with the Legislature to determine who or what agency will lead the investigation.

Neither the governor's office nor the Post Falls Police can estimate how long the investigation would take.

Haug said it would most likely go through late spring or early summer.

"I don't want to be rushed on this," he said. "I just want to make sure it is done correctly."

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