Court Decision on Historic Races Devastating
Faced with a devastating loss of funding for the horse racing industry, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would like the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision that historic horse racing games (l.) are not parimutuel events, but casino gaming. If the decision stands, it could decimate a $3.4 billion industry.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is mulling over a request to ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling that a slot-like game that appears in three of the state’s historical racing venues is not pari-mutuel wagering. Such machines resemble slot machines, but payouts are based on a parimutuel formula. Bets are determined by the outcome of previously run races.
The racing commission considers historical racing crucial to the survival of live racing. The profits from the machines have generated millions of dollars in taxes that are directed to the horse racing industry, money given to enhance purses for winners.
The commission asked the Supreme Court to use another two weeks to revisit the September 24 decision. The court’s unanimous decision means Kentucky lawmakers will have to act to ensure an industry which produces more than that $2 billion a year can continue.
Pari-mutuel betting at live races is legal. Casino gambling is not, so if the court sticks with its conviction that historic races are not pari-mutuel but casino gambling, they will be outlawed.
“Thus, this Court’s decision directly impacts approximately 80,000 jobs and may significantly reduce horse racing’s $3.4 billion contribution to Kentucky’s economy,” the commission said.
Despite the ruling, the agency still permits the historic races to run.
“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission respects the Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision. The commission is considering its options and will take action as soon as we come to an appropriate resolution,” the agency said in a statement to WDRB.