Ada County officials say gambling machines will have 'no impact'

Ada County officials say gambling machines will have 'no impact' »Play Video

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Ada County Commissioners heard testimony at a public meeting Tuesday to help them decide whether to allow Les Bois Park to install hundreds of new gambling machines. 

Leaders in Garden City are worried they'll be left to deal with the increase in traffic and crime they say the gambling will bring, but three officials said the addition of 200 historical horse racing machines is something they can handle.
 
More than 100 people attended, and many testified during the meeting that lasted almost three hours.
 
"When they depart, they're going to enter streets that Garden City has a responsibility to police, and we're told we won't even notice it," said John Evans, Garden City mayor.
 
Ada County owns the fairgrounds and Les Bois.
 
"Do you believe that historical horse racing will place a significant burden on law enforcement resources in Ada County based upon the research that you've done?" commissioner Dave Case asked Sgt. Patrick Schneider of the Ada County Sheriff's Office.
 
"Based upon the research I've done, no, I do not," Schneider responded.
 
Garden City Council Member Kathleen Simko said she doesn't buy it.
 
"I don't think that you can have increase in activity to the level that we anticipate and have no impact," Simko said.
 
Director Darby Weston of Ada County Paramedics said the agency had run the numbers and can handle the addition at Les Bois.
 
"With the populations and simply the number of people who would be participating, we do not see any impact to services."
 
The Ada County Highway District said the roads can handle the traffic.
 
Treasure Valley Racing made its case during a half-hour presentation at the beginning of the meeting, saying the machines will bring much-needed revenue.
 
One official said the fate of live horse racing and the equine industry lies in the commissioners' hands.
 
Nothing was decided Tuesday, but Ada County Commissioners have the final say. Commissioner Jim Tibbs said they plan to make a decision by the end of the year.