Florida Supreme Court Rules in OBS Case

A law allowing the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company to sell horses and operate an inter-track wagering facility was declared unconstitutional Thursday in a unanimous vote by the Florida Supreme Court. The same law had been repealed last year by the Florida State legislature.

"We're operating under a statute that wasn't at issue. Clearly what the legislature did was to strengthen the Thoroughbred industry," said attorney Bill Hamilton of the Tallahassee-based law firm Holland & Knight, which represented OBS.

The owners of Ocala Jai-Alai had filed a lawsuit in 1995 against OBS challenging a law that provided OBS with special status to operate a pari-mutuel wagering facility. The court's opinion was that the statute was in violation of equal protection of the law.

"It has been a long standing rule that the opinion of the court speaks for itself," said Florida Supreme Court public information officer Craig Waters.

OBS bought Ocala Jai-Alai last year from the Florida Gaming Corp.

"The ruling won't impact the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company. OBS will continue to flourish and generate revenue for the Thoroughbred industry under the current license they've received," Hamilton said.