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Historical Horse Racing Wagering At Red Mile On Hold

Video machine wagering on previously run horse races has come to a halt at Lexington’s Red Mile.  The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in September certain historical horse racing betting was illegal.  The court denied a rehearing and the Red Mile shut down its operation early Monday morning. 

Red Mile Spokeswoman Mary Catherine Jones says track officials believe state lawmakers can make a legislative change to meet standards set out in the court ruling. “We are hopeful at the restart of the session in early February, they will pick up this and address it so we can get 302 people here at our facility alone back to work,” said Jones.

Jones says the Red Mile is taking a conservative approach in deciding to shut down.  However a phone call to Derby City Gaming in Louisville Monday found it open to patrons. Kentucky Family Foundation, a long- standing critic of this form of gambling, took the matter to court. 

Family Foundation Spokesman Martin Cothran maintains this type of wagering is not pari-mutual, so it’s not legal in Kentucky.  Cothran says for this gaming to continue legally it would need to be done through a constitutional amendment put before voters.  ?“You can’t make a slot machine a pari-mutual horse race by slapping a picture of a horse race on it.  And so, the problem is that this is slot machines, this is casino gambling, and they haven’t made that legal in this state,” said Cothran.

During his coronavirus briefing, Governor Beshear  said he believes a constitutional amendment would not be necessary and he’s optimistic he can work with state lawmakers to secure a legislative solution.

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