The group challenging Instant Racing in the state will have a chance to argue its case before the Kentucky Supreme Court next month and the court’s decision will open or close the door on the game, which brings in millions of dollars in gambling revenue each month.
The machines allow gamblers to bet on previously run horse races, which can’t be identified, but opponents such as the Family Foundation of Kentucky say the machines are the same as slot-machines, which are not allowed in the commonwealth.
The state and all Kentucky race tracks say it’s another version of pari-mutuel betting, which is legal.
As WFPL reported last year, an appeals court said the Family Foundation wasn’t allowed access to certain information in the case and therefore could not make a ruling. That will be allowed in the state Supreme Court.
But the foundation’s Martin Cothran says whether that will be enough to win the case is still uncertain.
“We have a system in which judges are elected and a lot of these guys are in parts of the state which have race tracks,” he says.
Patrick Neely, executive director of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, says he’s confident in arguing his support for the games and says pari-mutuel betting is allowed under state law.
“Pari-mutuel means that the patrons bet amongst themselves,” he says. “So when you play instant racing you are playing against everybody else who is playing instant racing.”
Two Kentucky tracks offer Instant Racing, while others say they’re waiting on the outcome of the legal challenge before moving forward with the game.
Oral arguments are scheduled for Aug. 21.