11/11/2014 3:33PM

Texas judge rules against instant racing terminals

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A district court in Austin, Texas, has ruled that the Texas Racing Commission does not have the authority to allow slots-like betting terminals at the state’s tracks, according to published reports and to lobbyist Steve Bresnen, who works with charitable bingo interests opposed to the betting terminals. The decision was handed down Monday afternoon.

The Texas Racing Commission in August adopted an amendment that provides for the installation of the terminals at the state’s horse and greyhound tracks. Known as instant racing or historical racing, the betting terminals pay off based on the results of horse races that have already been run, and play like a slot machine.

“Yesterday, Judge Lora Livingston issued a ruling on a motion for summary judgment that we filed, and she ruled that the Texas Racing Commission did not have statutory authority to adopt the historical racing rule that it has adopted,” Bresnen said Tuesday.

The commission offices were not open Tuesday in observance of Veterans Day, but Robert Elrod, a spokesperson for the agency, responded to an email request for comment from Daily Racing Form .

“The commission respects the judge’s ruling and is currently considering its options for a possible appeal,” Elrod wrote Tuesday. “Any appeal would also require the agreement of the Solicitor General’s Office, a division within the Attorney General’s Office.”

Elrod said an appeal would be due before the next scheduled commission meeting on Dec. 16.

Bresnen said historical racing machines at tracks near the larger charitable bingo locations would be devastating to them.

Texas racing has seen its handle and purse distribution drop significantly the last decade while surrounding states have flourished with gaming. There is no gaming, account wagering or off-track betting allowed in Texas. A movement for historical racing was begun by industry leaders last December.

Tim More than 1 year ago
Texas needs to move into the present. Casino/racino revenues are here to stay and they only blocked the terminals to protect "charitable" bingo; how noble.
Angelo More than 1 year ago
The judge did everyone a favor, these machines are worse than cancer. Use to play these in a back room of a pool hall many years ago.
TRacingLifeMore More than 1 year ago
I don't understand why anyone in the racing industry would want these instant historical racing machines. Doesn't that make betting on races the equivalent of slot machines since there is no handicapping involved? That should be the opposite of what the racing industry wants to convey. The racing industry should be convincing people their game is a game of skill, and that any machine game is just push a button and hope for the best.
Dan Cronin More than 1 year ago
Texas where 16 yr olds are on death row but a 45 yr old cant bet online thru an ADW of his choice. Great politicians and lawmakers in that state.
roelly19 More than 1 year ago
good finallya state that does not allow crooks in the state!!!!!!!!!!!!
harpharper . More than 1 year ago
Does Assmussen have horses running in Texas?
John Smith More than 1 year ago
LOL...you might want to add another big trainer or two to that list.
John Smith More than 1 year ago
What a joke of a decision... What has a more positive effect on Texas with regards to the economy., job creation , agriculture , breeding farms--- horseracing or two bit bingo operations.? I smell a rat ....