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Court of Appeals Sends Instant Racing Back to Circuit Court

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned a ruling that would've allowed instant racing at horse tracks in Kentucky. But the court is not saying instant racing is illegal. In a split decision, the appeals court ruled that the circuit court did not allow a proper hearing on the game—which allows gamblers to wager on slot-machine like terminals with the outcomes relying on historic horse racing data—because opponents of instant racing were not allowed to gather and present evidence for their side.


The main group opposing instant racing is the Family Foundation, which has fought the expansion of gambling in Kentucky for years. Foundation Executive Director Kent Ostrander says the ruling will help his group prove Instant Racing is too similar to slot machine gambling to be legal in the commonwealth. 


“It opens the door to us being able to do the discovery where we maintain that a video tape of a horse race is not live racing as the law requires. And that this kind of wagering by yourself and a machine is not pari-mutuel wagering,” he says. The decision means both sides will once again argue their case before Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate. 


Only the Kentucky Downs track in Franklin has instant racing. But another track, Ellis Park in Henderson, is approved for the games.

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