Kentucky Family Foundation Have No Choice But To Appeal The Historical Racing Machines Court Decision
LEXINGTON, KY— “After an initial analysis of the ruling, we have no choice but to appeal,” said Kent Ostrander, executive director of The Family Foundation. “We thank the Court for its diligence over the last eight years, but we are convinced the opinion overlooks several critical elements of what it means to have pari-mutuel wagering—specifically, wagering among the patrons. The very definition of the French phrase ‘pari-mutuel’ requires ‘mutuality.’”
Yesterday, Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Franklin Circuit Court ruled that the Exacta gambling system, a form of historical racing, was legal.
“When a patron is sitting at his own distinct historical horse racing machine, with his own distinct randomly-selected race or races, pushing the button at his own distinct nano-second moment of time, the question is: ‘Who is the wagering with …among …against?’ No one can point to a single other people with whom he is ‘pari-mutually’wagering. That is the crux of this case – there is no mutuality.’ Obviously, absent ‘mutuality’ there is no ‘pari-mutuel.’”
Sadly, the specific reasoning of the decision raises major issues, both within and outside the horse racing world. For example, the opinion states: “Pari-mutuel wagering does not require patrons to wager on the same horse races, nor does it require reciprocity among patrons, or for a pool to remain open for a specified period of time.”So, should or can tote boards and totalizators be removed from all race tracks?
And outside the racing world, will Frankfort Courts now take on the responsibility of making major policy decisions for the Commonwealth when the General Assembly choose not to? The ruling does not address numerous policy issues, such as: What is the effect of the predatory gambling practices on the poor? What about a problem/addicted gamblers? What sort of tax rate should be applied? Where should the tax revenue go? Should there be a license fee; and, if so, how much? When and how often are operators audited? Etc.
“Not one legislator has voted to change the law and not one citizen has voted to expand gambling, yet, an unelected Racing Commission and one judge has sided with race tracks and ruled that these new-fangled, slot-like machines are pari-mutuel and compliant with the law,” said Ostrander.
Currently, in Kentucky, there are five facilities using such gambling devices with an estimated 2700 to 3000 machines.
FOOTNOTES: Contract Kent Ostrander at 859-255-5400. For legal questions call Stan Cave at 859-309-3000.