Kentucky Group Again Targets Instant Racing

The Family Foundation wants the devices to be ruled illegal slot machines.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky continued its efforts to halt Instant Racing at Kentucky Downs Sept. 21 when it asked state Attorney General Jack Conway to classify the games as illegal slot machines.

It’s the latest development in a battle that began last year after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission wrote regulations authorizing Instant Racing under pari-mutuel statute. The games closely resemble video lottery terminals but are considered pari-mutuel because they are based on the results of previously run horse races and money wagered is pooled, unlike VLTs or slot machines.

The Family Foundation held a news conference in Frankfort, Ky., to announce its latest strategy. The public policy organization in September attempted to win an injunction to shut down operation of the machines, but a court rejected the request.

Conway spokeswoman Shelley Johnson told the Associated Press her office had received the Family Foundation’s request, but noted the attorney general doesn’t intervene in such matters that are pending in court. The Kentucky Court of Appeals has yet to hear arguments on Instant Racing, which Kentucky launched Sept. 1.

The KHRC moved ahead with Instant Racing in 2010 after Conway’s office issued an opinion the machines could be operated under revised pari-mutuel statutes. The regulations then made their way through the Legislative Research Commission and took effect earlier this summer.

Other racetracks in the state have opted to wait for the appeals court ruling before they request Instant Racing licenses from the KHRC.