Judge rules slot-like machines at Kentucky horse tracks are legal

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate has rejected the argument that so-called “historical racing machines” at Kentucky horse tracks are actually poorly disguised slot machines that are illegal in the state.

Wingate ruled that machines are a form of pari-mutuel wagering and are therefore legal in Kentucky. The ruling will be appealed.

Kentucky’s Constitution bans casino-style gambling, including slots, but allows pari-mutuel betting on horse races.

Winning on the machines has nothing to do with a horse race. Instead, players have to line up symbols, just like the slot machines that are so abundant in casinos.

Wingate said while the arguments by Lexington Attorney Stan Cave, representing the Family Foundation, are noble, moral and altruistic, they fail to show that the machines operate outside Kentucky’s pari-mutuel wagering system.

Wingate concluded that the machines are “legally permitted under Kentucky law.”


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