Texas Racing Commission OKs Instant Racing

The Texas Racing Commission Aug. 29 approved a plan to allow historical racing at horse and dog tracks statewide, despite pending legal action, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The newspaper reports that the machines, which play like slot machines but base payouts through pari-mutuel wagering, were approved by a 7-1 vote by the racing commission.

Opponents already have said they will seek litigation to block the addition of the machines at tracks. The Texas move could be similar to Kentucky, where the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved the machines and, while legal action continues, two of the tracks in the state have added the machines.

Commissioners approved changing the rules to allow historical racing, the replaying of already-run races for pari-mutuel wagering on slot machine-like devices, at tracks in Texas. 

The paper reports Texas district court judge David Evans has set a Sept. 10 hearing to consider whether to approve a temporary injunction to prevent the rule change from going into effect.

Texas, to date, has not allowed added gaming at its tracks, which have been hurt by surrounding states that do allow added gaming, including Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arkansas.

"The Texas Racing Commission exercised its constitutional authority and has thrown a lifeline to the Texas horse industry," Sam Houston Race Park president Andrea Young told the Star-Telegram. "This move will help grow purses and will slow the stampede of Texas horses and horsemen out of our state."