FRANKFORT, Ky. — Are they pari-mutuel bets or an excuse to have slot machines? The long debate over the historic betting machines went before Kentucky's Supreme Court Friday.
A Supreme Court ruling six years ago opened the gates for places like Derby City Gaming to exist. They and horse tracks have historic horse racing machines that the Family Foundation of Kentucky suggests are nothing more than slot machines.
As Kentucky lawmakers struggled to pass expanded gaming bills in the General Assembly, the tracks hosting these machines sprinted past criticism for opening quote "not a casino."
The tracks that have the machines insist they are following that 2014 ruling and these machines are "pari-mutuel" bets because many people can be betting on the same event such as is done in horse racing.
Tracks want the high court to toss the conservative group's argument. It's of note to point out that the Family Foundation of Kentucky has successfully lobbied against passing expanded gaming in Kentucky.
In court, their attorney argued there's nothing "historic" about the machines.
"It's not really random selection of races," attorney Stan Cave said. "It's random selection of numbers associated with the races. It might as well be the random selection of lightning strikes in Kansas. It's just a fiction to say it's betting on a race, it's really betting on a random selection of numbers."
However Jay Ingle, attorney for three of the tracks in this case, said the legislature would have said they thought horse racing terminals should be illegal previously.
"Their silence speaks volumes both about the policy and about this court's opinion in 2014," Ingle said. "That should not be revisited on these grounds."
It could be months before an opinion is handed down.