Utah’s governor has ‘serious concerns’ about a bill allowing parimutuel betting

Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 18:55:41-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert is signaling his potential opposition to a new bill to allow parimutuel betting in Utah.

Reacting to a bill filed by Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, the governor’s office told FOX 13 it has “serious concerns about allowing parimutuel betting into Utah.”

“Parimutuel betting doesn’t add to economic prosperity. Instead of growing the economic pie, it merely slices it up differently. It takes money, redistributes it among those in the pool (less administrative costs), and returns nothing of value,” governor’s spokesman Paul Edwards said in a statement Wednesday. “Moreover, because of how federal law treats gaming on Indian reservations, parimutuel betting could open the door to other kinds of gambling that the state has constitutionally prohibited.”

FOX 13 reported on Sen. Hinkins’ bill, introduced in the Utah State Legislature on Tuesday. It would allow counties to decide if they wished to allow betting on horse racing. Sen. Hinkins said it could be a potential revenue generator for rural counties. He insisted parimutuel betting does not violate the Utah Constitution’s prohibition on gambling, because the state’s Supreme Court has declared it is not a game of chance.