Trial of Encore gambling system held Jan. 8-11

Stan Cave, attorney for The Family Foundation, waged a one-man battle in court against as many as 13 attorneys from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Kentucky’s eight horse race tracks for four days during the second week of January. The next step includes attorneys from both sides of the issue writing briefs and then responding to one another’s briefs. A decision in the case will likely not come out until late Spring.

“Stan did an outstanding job with the case,” said Kent Ostrander, executive director of The Family Foundation. “He probably was the most knowledgeable individual in the court room on the details of the gambling system, how it works and whether it meets the requirements of the Kentucky Revised Statutes and Regulations.”

One of the points that The Family Foundation maintains is that this gaming system is not “pari-mutuel.” Pari-mutuel wagering is an exception to Kentucky’s gambling prohibitions. “Pari-mutuel” is a French compound word coming from the words “pari” defined as “a bet” or “a wager,” and “mutuel,” literally meaning “mutual.” Pari-mutuel is a mutual bet or wager. These definitions confirm what Americans already know about pari-mutuel wagering on horse races because all the bettors are wagering mutually among themselves on a horse race.

In the Encore system, a patron is betting alone and he is not betting on the same historical race as anyone else. In addition, his bet does not affect the outcome of any other previous wagerer’s bet, and a portion of the prizes are fixed. No other patron or wagerer is engaged at the exact same moment. In other words, there is no “mutuality.” It literally is “instant wagering” because of the computer’s speed with only one patron betting.

It’s the difference between a queue to use the telephone in an old-fashioned phone booth and the higher technology of a conference call – one person using one phone at a time compared to all mutually using their phones in one conference call at the same time. In this sense, the Encore gaming system is not “pari-mutual,” but rather “pari-serial” or parisequential.” Literally, in French it would be “betting serially” or “betting sequentially.”

Cave raised other arguments in court, but all related to these gambling systems not being pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. Clearly, the law would have to be changed.

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