The future of instant racing gaming in Kentucky is back in the hands of a trial judge who the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday ordered to further develop the issues surrounding the slot-like game.
The 2-1 decision doesn't expressly prohibit instant racing at Kentucky Downs in Franklin near the Kentucky-Tennessee state line and Ellis Park in Henderson.
Instead, the court sent the case back to Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate with instructions to allow the Family Foundation of Kentucky and the state to explore several issues surrounding the game, in which patrons bet on historic races without knowing the names of the trainers, jockeys or horses involved.
In December 2010, Wingate upheld a proposal allowing tracks to accept pari-mutuel bets on rebroadcasts of the old races. The Family Foundation intervened in a lawsuit seeking to clarify the issue. By not allowing the state and the Family Foundation of Kentucky to exchange evidence and flesh out the issues, it is impossible to tell what Wingate relied on in upholding instant racing, Senior Judge Joseph E. Lambert wrote for the court.
Kentucky Downs released this statement in response to the appeals court decision: "Today's ruling in no way changes the position of Kentucky Downs that pari-mutuel wagering on historical racing fully complies with the law. Kentucky Downs will continue to operate Instant Racing under the regulatory authority of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission whose regulations remain in full force and effect."
Governor Steve Beshear released the following statement: “Counsel for the various parties are reviewing the opinion of this divided court and evaluating the next steps. Although a majority on the court believed that further facts needed to be developed before they could render a decision, I am confident that the authority of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to authorize wagering on historical horse racing will be affirmed. In the meantime, I am pleased that the status quo has been maintained so our race tracks can continue to offer these exotic wagers until the case is decided.”