Idaho Tribal Gaming
In 2002, the state's Indian tribes spent $4 million to assure passage of an initiative to clearly define the legality of thousands of electronic gambling machines at their reservation casinos. The initiative passed when it appeared on the general election ballot in fall 2002.
In 2004, the legislature's governing council directed Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to hire a special attorney to challenge the constitutionality of the 2002 Indian gambling legislation. Although the measure had been enacted, the state maintained that video gaming machines were the same as slot machines, which are illegal under the state constitution.
In February 2006, Idaho Republicans planned to challenge the constitutionality of the 2002 initiative. The Shoshone-Bannock Nation and the state went to court over the tribe's right to offer video gaming machines. A federal judge ruled that the tribe could offer the devices because they were legalized for three other tribes in the state.
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