LEXINGTON, KY – The Family Foundation welcomed the 6-0 decision* of the Kentucky Supreme Court today that turned down the petitions of the race tracks and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to rehear the ten-year case contesting the legality of so-called “historical horse racing” slot machines. The Court had ruled on Sept. 24 last Fall in a unanimous 7-0 decision that the machines did not meet the definition of parimutuel wagering and were therefore illegal.
The group says it fully expects the tracks and allies in state government to close the doors on the facilities. “The state’s horse racing tracks have been legally running from the law and the State Constitution for ten years while the regulatory agency overseeing them has looked the other way. Now they’ve run out of options.”
“This decision was something of a formality, since the Court rarely grants petitions to try a case over again,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, the group that contested the legality of the machines. “And since this case spent ten years in the courts and the ruling was unanimous, it was even more likely the Court would turn them down.”
After engaging in discovery, The Family Foundation attorney, Stan Cave, argued that the so-called “historic horse racing” machines were really slot machines posing as parimutuel horse racing.
“The tracks have continued to operate after the September ruling knowing that their chances of getting the Court to change its mind was a shot in the dark. Now that the Court has fully finalized its decision – unanimously, the tracks have to shut down their illegal gaming parlors.”
Cothran criticized the tracks for operating the machines for ten years and taking over $800 million from Kentucky citizens unlawfully, even though they knew their legality was in doubt all along. “The race tracks have known all along that the legality of these machines was doubtful. That is why they petitioned the Franklin Circuit Court in 2010 to get its approval. It was only after that action that The Family Foundation asked and was permitted to intervene in the case in order to provide proper scrutiny and accountability.”
* Newly-elected Justice Robert Conley was not sitting when the case was reviewed.