04/26/2012 10:31AM

Kentucky Court of Appeals will rule on Instant Racing in four to six weeks


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Court of Appeals expects to issue a ruling in four to six weeks over a challenge to the legality of Instant Racing machines, the slot machine-like devices installed at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., that use the results of previously run horse races to generate payouts.

The legality of the devices was challenged by the Family Foundation of Kentucky, which has argued that the machines violate the state constitution’s prohibition on forms of gambling other than horse racing or the lottery.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission adopted regulations late in 2010 allowing the machines, and the state’s attorney general, Tom Conway, a horse owner whose father is on the racing commission, has issued an opinion that the regulations comply with state law. Late in 2011, Ellis Park in western Kentucky also received approval to operate the machines, though the devices have not yet been installed at the track.

The appeal stems from a ruling late in 2010 from the Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky that the devices were a legal form of parimutuel wagering. The devices are currently legal in Arkansas, though a court in Oregon has ruled that the machines violated the state’s prohibition on casino-type gambling.

The devices have generated $67.5 million in wagers at Kentucky Downs, which is located near the border with Tennessee, where the only form of legalized gambling is the lottery.