Administration, Tracks Seek High Court Review

Jul 18, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The issue of slot-like games at Kentucky's racetracks is headed back to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The state's racetracks and the administration of Gov. Steve Beshear are asking the court to review the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling sending the case back to Franklin County Circuit Court.

The Lexington Herald-LeaderĀ  reports Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet spokesman Dick Brown said in a statement that the parties believe the trial court was correct in ruling that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission can permit the games.

"In a divided decision, we believe the Court of Appeals incorrectly decided to return the case to the trial court for discovery on questions not relevant to the legal issues," Brown said. "In her dissenting opinion, Judge Combs agreed with the KHRC that the case was ripe for decision and properly decided by the trial court. Because of the broad impact of the case on one of Kentucky's signature industries, we think the Supreme Court should act without further delay to review this important issue for final determination now."

The game allows players to bet on previously run races. So far, Kentucky Downs is the only track that has the game in place, but Ellis Park hopes to have machines operating soon.

The Family Foundation, which challenged the case and has 30 days to respond to the state's motion, said the racetracks' move is "ill-advised."

"No one can refute that we were denied our day in court when we were forbidden to ask questions in the Franklin Circuit Court," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for the organization. "We would be stunned if the Supreme Court accepts review when, as the appellate court agreed, it is so clear that our basic constitutional due process rights were denied."

The Kentucky Court of Appeals vacated the Franklin Circuit Court ruling June 15 and remanded the case to the trial court. The motion seeking the Supreme Court review was filed Monday.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, state Department of Revenue and Kentucky's eight racetracks filed briefs asking for the review. There was no indication of when the court might rule on whether to take up the case.