Boise County looks into slot machines, blackjack tables

IDAHO CITY, Idaho (KBOI) - Boise County Commissioners have set up an advisory group to look into the possibility of bringing gambling to Idaho City, Horseshoe Bend and elsewhere in the county.

The Boise County Gaming Committee will make a recommendation to commissioners, who will then decide whether to put an advisory question on the November ballot. Depending on the results, commissioners could then move forward by approaching state lawmakers to amend Idaho's constitution, allowing limited gaming in their neck of the woods.

Skip Myers, owner of Donna's Place, said he'd make room in his grocery store for some slot machines and table games, like Blackjack.

"We're devastatingly broke," said Myers, who's also a member of the gaming committee. "We haven't got a lot of money. We'd like to have some nice roads."

Across the street from his store, business owner Carolyn Garrison is vocal about her opposition to gambling within the county's borders.

"It frightens me," she said. "I'm concerned about the welfare of the children, the welfare of the adults. Gaming is a very addictive thing."

Myers said he doesn't envision a "full-blown gambling community." Instead, he'd like to see existing businesses have the option of adding machines and tables.

"I'd like to see it stay down and be a community where we can have fun and get some people up for tourism," Myers said.

Organizers would ultimately have to sway state lawmakers to change Idaho's constitution, a process that requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers and then voter approval.

The gaming committee is holding open houses this week to gauge public opinion. Commissioners will decide in early September whether to put the advisory question on the ballot.