09/09/2011 1:35PM

Kentucky Downs can keep gaming machines, court rules

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New instant racing gaming machines will keep operating at Kentucky Downs after a Kentucky Court of Appeals denied gaming opponents’ motion for an emergency injunction.

Judge Glenn Acree denied an emergency request by a lobbying group, the Family Foundation of Kentucky, to stop the machines, saying the group had not shown that allowing the machines presented immediate and irreparable injury. But a scheduled three-judge hearing into the Family Foundation’s request for a routine injunction is still pending. That could take place in October.

Instant racing started Sept. 1 at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., the state’s first racetrack to use the racing-themed gaming machines. The track’s president, Corey Johnsen, said the machines helped boost the track’s Labor Day total weekend handle by 166 percent over four days.

The Family Foundation has appealed to overturn a Franklin Circuit Court ruling late last year that the machines are legal. Similar to video lottery terminals, the instant racing machines were declared parimutuel by the Kentucky attorney general and the state’s racing commission because they pool wagers, unlike traditional slot machine games.