The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will hold a public hearing Sept. 29 on its unanimously approved regulations that would permit “Instant Racing” wagering at the state’s licensed tracks. Technically referred to as wagering on “historical races,” the new form of wagering was approved by the KHRC in July as part of a set of new and amended exotic wagering regulations.
The hearing, which will be held at 10 a.m. at the Red Mile harness track in Lexington, is part of the administrative process, giving members of the public the opportunity to weigh in and comment on regulations that have been passed.
The Family Foundation announced in August it would challenge the regulations allowing Instant Racing on the grounds it is nothing more than an illegal expansion of gambling. The group’s attorney, Stan Cave, said Kentucky’s pari-mutuel wagering laws apply only to live horse races.
“Because wagering on videos of previously run horse races through instant racing devices is not wagering on a live race, the Department of Revenue is without statutory authority to promulgate the regulations which require reporting and payment of excise taxes on non-live racing,” Cave told Kentucky Public Radio.
Kentucky’s attorney general had previously issued an opinion stating that wagering on historical horse races is not currently allowed because that type of wagering is not defined by the administrative regulations. The amended and new regulations adopted by the KHRC will permit the wagering to take place.
Although there has already been a legal opinion stating historical race wagering is permitted if the enabling regulations pass, the commission and racetracks will go to court to seek a declaratory judgment stating that:
—The commission has the statutory authority to regulate pari-mutuel wagering of horse racing under Chapter 230 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS);
—The licensed operation of pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, as authorized by the regulations, does not contravene the statutes prohibiting gambling under Chapter 528 of the KRS, and;
—The Department of Revenue’s determination that revenue generated by pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races is subject to the pari-mutuel tax is a valid and lawful exercise of its statutory authority to interpret and enforce the tax laws of the Commonwealth.
Because of the public hearings and the court ruling, KHRC chairman Bob Beck said it could be the first quarter of 2011 before historical race gaming becomes a reality.