Kentucky Race and Sports Wagering
Instant racing, or historical horse racing, has been a controversial issue in Kentucky since 2011. Instant racing allows bettors to place wagers on previously run horse races using a slot-machine-like device. The KHRC has ruled that the game is legal because bets are pooled against other players and not against the house. The Kentucky Attorney General's office considers instant racing legal because it is a form of pari-mutuel wagering. The KHRC adopted regulations to manage the new type of gaming in August 2011.
The legality of the game has been challenged in court for the last couple years. The Family Foundation of Kentucky and other opponents say it's a slot machine. Kentucky law forbids wagering outside of pari-mutuel wagering, the lottery and charitable gambling. In February 2014, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the KHRC has the authority to license and regulate instant racing. The court also ruled that the Franklin Circuit Court (a lower court) needs to decide if instant racing is pari-mutuel wagering or not. No decision has been made thus far.
Despite the controversy, Kentucky Downs has been operating the games since September 2011 and Ellis Downs since September 2012.
In June 2017, Sen. Julian M. Carroll introduced a bill that would empower Kentucky's racing commission to "institute a system of sports wagering." The bill was introduced to the Appropriations & Revenue committee, but as of summer 2018 had not advanced.
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