LEXINGTON, KY — A spokesman for The Family Foundation today questioned the need for a new law legalizing so-called “historical horse racing” slot machines. “Why do the horse racing tracks need a new law to keep operating slot parlors when they seem to be able to operate outside the law altogether anyway?” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for the group. “Only one of the facilities has closed – The Red Mile. The rest of them are operating as if nothing ever happened at the Kentucky Supreme Court.”
Last week, the Supreme Court finalized its Sept. 24 unanimous ruling finding these machines illegal. “We know of no other case in which a Supreme Court ruling that has been finalized has been ignored like this. This is a wealthy and influential industry that thinks it is above the law. They’ve gone rogue, and the fact that they think they can thumb their noses at the Court, is an indication of how powerful they think they are,” said Cothran.
“The horse tracks have gone rogue and the feckless state agency that is supposed to regulate them, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, can’t seem to keep its own books, let alone regulate anybody,” said Cothran, referring to an audit of the KHRC in 2019.
Cothran said The Family Foundation is opposed to legislation legalizing the slot-like machines because, at the expense of the poor, it will further enrich already wealthy publicly-traded corporations like Churchill Downs. This will aggravate the problem of money going out of the state and the state does not get much of the revenues from the machines anyway.
Cothran also said that changing the law would require a constitutional amendment, since the Constitution currently does not allow for casino gambling.