Both sides claiming victory in Supreme Court ruling on instant - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Both sides claiming victory in Supreme Court ruling on instant racing

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Both sides are claiming victory in a ruling today by the Kentucky Supreme Court on Instant Racing.

The ruling does not legalize instant racing, but it does keep the issue very much alive in the courts.

Instant racing allows players to use terminals to bet on the outcome of previously run races.

Two racetracks, Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park, began offering instant racing as a way to generate needed revenue.

But the Family Foundation of Kentucky filed suit, claming instant racing is not pari-mutual wagering, which is legal, but more like a slot machine, which is illegal.

The Supreme Court held a hearing last summer. And now, in a unanimous ruling, the court has declared that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission does have the authority to license and regulate instant racing.

In a statement the Commission called the ruling "an important victory for the Commonwealth and the future of the horse industry in Kentucky."

Gov. Steve Beshear claimed partial victory.

"I was very pleased that the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed with the actions that I asked our Racing Commission to take some months ago in issuing regulations to allow historic racing at our racetracks," said Beshear.

But the Supreme Court sidestepped the larger issue of whether instant racing is actually legal, tossing that question back to the Circuit Court.

It means the Family Foundation can continue its challenge. A judge had previously ruled for instant racing without allowing the Foundation to present its evidence.

"We think this is a victory for transparency and for judicial fairness because at the trial court level we were denied the ability to ask questions and submit evidence. And the main part of this decision is we get to do that now," said Family Foundation policy analyst Martin Cothran.

The court also ruled that Kentucky cannot collect taxes on instant racing as it does live racing.

This entire question could very likely end up back at the Supreme Court.

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