COEUR d'ALENE - A bill that would have banned all gambling in Idaho, including the lottery and tribal casinos, was nixed before it got printed.
House Ways and Means Chair Christy Perry, R-Nampa, pulled the bill off that committee's agenda Friday morning. On Thursday afternoon, Perry had scheduled an introduction of the bill along with two urban renewal bills.
When the meeting started, Perry amended the agenda, saying the gambling bill would not be considered.
Helo Hancock, legislative director for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, said he was glad to see the bill was pulled, but the attempt to ban gambling was retaliation against the Tribe's efforts to ban "instant horse racing" machines.
Earlier in the legislative session, the Tribe introduced legislation that would repeal a 2013 law that allows pari-mutuel video machines through which gamblers bet on historic races.
The machines that lawmakers thought they were authorizing turned out to be similar to video slot-like machines.
Hancock said Perry carried the original bill to authorize those machines in 2013.
"I don't know exactly why the bill got pulled," he said. "This was obviously retaliation. The proponents of instant racing have threatened to do that in the past.
"So we weren't surprised to see that. We expected it."
Perry could not be reached for comment Friday.
Hancock said he believes dropping that bill was an effort to divert attention away from the real issue: Senate Bill 1011, which would repeal the law that authorized historic racing.
That bill has already passed through the Senate, and Hancock said it is being scheduled for hearing in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday.