Ky. court asks judge to look at Instant Racing gambling again

Jun 18, 2012 9:32 AM

It looks like even the members of the Kentucky Appeals Court that heard arguments about the legalization of Instate Racing, or the practice of wagering on previously run races, didn’t quite understand the issues.

After hearing arguments on both sides, two of the three Appeals Court judges voted to send the matter back to Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate, asking  that Wingate explore several issues surrounding the game.

While dismissing arguments from The Family Foundation  that opposed the gaming machines, Judge Wingate would not let the Foundation and the state  exchange evidence to  flesh out the issues. Judge Wingate ruled that it was a pari-mutuel wagering matter and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had the authority to approve the use of such gaming machines.

That wasn’t enough, said the Appeals Court judges.

“We agree that the parties had a right to develop proof and present evidence to establish that the wagers made by patrons at electronic gaming machines do or do not meet the definition of pari-mutuel wagering on a horse race,” wrote Senior Judge Joseph E. Lambert.

The dissenting jurist, Judge Sara Combs, leaned toward Judge Wingate’s opinion.

“The requirements for historical racing fall within the meaning of pari-mutuel racing,” Combs wrote. “Although the participants bet on different races, their money is nonetheless being pooled.”

A spokesman for Kentucky Downs, where the machines have been in use for several months, said the court’s ruling will not close down their facility. The track insists that it complies with the laws and regulations established by the Racing Commission.