Kentucky Horse Racing Commission seeks more time to file request with SC to reconsider HHR ruling

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission seeks more time to file request with SC to reconsider HHR ruling

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has urged the apex court of the state to give it more time to file a request for reconsidering its ruling over the legality of historical horse racing (HHR) machines at race tracks.

The Bluegrass State is home to six horse race tracks, including Kentucky Downs, which offer HHR machines. But, the Kentucky Supreme Court’s last month’s ruling put a big question mark on the future of the controversial machines.

On 24th of September, the court ruled that the KHRC can’t approve a new method of pari-mutuel betting in the form of HHR machines on its own, with a clear consent of state lawmakers. The KHRC filed a motion, urging the apex court to give it a two-week extension for filing a request. Under the state law, an individual or a group gets a window of 20 days to submit a formal request for a rehearing.

HHR gaming machines are a competitive substitute for traditional machines. The major difference between HHR machines and traditional machines is that the results of games on these machines aren’t random. HHR can be described as a true pari-mutuel betting system that claims to deliver more entertaining video experience to customers. HHR machine results are based on the outcomes of previous races.

One of the many arguments that the Family Foundation of Kentucky has long been making is that gaming was expanded without seeking lawmakers’ consent. Martin Cothran, a spokesperson for the Family Foundation, said that the state’s horse racing regulator needs to be more than just “a rubber stamp” to protect interests of the racing industry.

Commenting on the issue, Cothran said, “Now we’re supposed to believe that after a long and expensive legal battle, they’re just going to take the backs off these things, turn a few screws and fuse a few circuits, and everything is going to be OK. Does anyone really believe this?”

The Supreme Court’s ruling not only put a question mark on the future of HHR machines but could also impact the future of live horse racing as the state’s six tracks have used HHR machines to bolster purses and compete with other states. As per available stats, more than $8.5 billion has been wagered through the state’s HHR machines during the last one year, despite the fact that the facilities remained closed for months due to COVID-19 health crisis.