08/21/2013 3:43PM

Kentucky Supreme Court hears Instant Racing arguments


The Kentucky Supreme Court on Wednesday morning heard oral arguments in a case that may determine the future of slot-machine-like devices already installed at two Kentucky tracks that have generated millions of dollars for the track owners and Kentucky horsemen.

The court heard arguments for and against the devices for two hours on Wednesday morning. Opponents of the devices have argued that the machines are illegal under the state constitution’s prohibition on slot machines, while proponents, including the state and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, have contended that the devices are legal under the state’s definition of parimutuel wagering.

The state’s Supreme Court typically issues opinions on cases at least several months after conducting a hearing.

The devices, which are called Instant Racing machines, use the results of previously run horse races to generate random numbers determining payouts. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission passed rules authorizing the machines in 2010, and since then, the devices have been installed at Kentucky Downs near the border with Tennessee and at Ellis Park in western Kentucky.

The legality of the devices has been challenged by the Family Foundation of Kentucky, a conservative anti-gambling group.

Dick Downey More than 1 year ago
Actually, the core issue of the case was about whether the KHRC had statutory authority to promulgate regulations for historical racing. It has nothing to do with the Kentucky Constitution at all. The gambling opponent, Family Foundation, has tried to turn the case into one about the legality of the machines that are being used -- but no machines were yet in use when the regs were adopted or when the Franklin Circuit Court case that led to this appeal was decided -- so there is no evidence of record about the machines.