A federal judge in Texas has ruled against Churchill Down Incorporated in a challenge over online gambling laws.
The Louisville-based company was hoping the judge would throw out a Texas law that bans internet gambling offered by the racetrack’s website.
The Courier-Journal reports the Texas Racing Commission has recently started to enforce a law requiring that all gambling on horse racing be done in person at the racetrack. The law was later revised by Texas authorities to explicitly outlaw online wagering.
Churchill claimed the “in person” part of the law was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. But the Texas judge rejected that argument, saying that Churchill Downs and other racetracks can reach gamblers in the Lonestar State through simulcasting—something that is permitted under Texas law.
Churchill started Twinspires.com in 2007 in order to take bets online and over the phone.
For the first time, the state has official figures on how much money Kentuckians bet online or over the phone on horse races that take place in the commonwealth. State Senator Damon Thayer says about $47 million was wagered in the first half of the year.
Supporters of instant racing in Kentucky are once again trying to take their case to the state supreme court. Instant racing games allow players to wager on previously-run horse races using slot-machine like-devices. The Franklin Circuit Court previously ruled that the games are legal, but an appeals court sent the decision back, saying the anti-gambling Family Foundation should've been allowed to gather evidence in the case.
The owner of Ellis Park in Henderson says he hopes to expand the horse track’s gambling options by Labor Day. Ron Geary wants to move ahead with plans to install instant racing machines, despite an ongoing lawsuit over the legality of those games in Kentucky.
A decision is expected within six weeks over whether Instant Racing is legal in Kentucky. The state’s Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Wednesday. Instant Racing is a slots-like game that Kentucky racetracks hope to use to boost race purses. But the Family Foundation of Kentucky says the game isn’t pari-mutuel betting like horse racing, but instead is closer to a slot machine.