Gov. Steve Beshear says he's a fan of Instant Racing for Kentucky's horse racing tracks—but he's not sure if legalizing the gambling format would be used to fund the state's struggling pension system.
Meanwhile, Beshear said casino gambling is not happening this year.
House Democratic leaders says they are looking at legalizing the slots-like game statewide to help generate at least $25 million a year to help fully fund pension obligations. Only two tracks, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs, currently have the game.
Beshear did not commit fully to the idea, but said he will not allow lawmakers to ask for budget cuts in 2014 to help pay for pensions.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal concerning Instant Racing games being used at two racetracks in the listening area of WKU Public Radio.
Instant Racing uses videos of old horse races, with the identities of the horses, jockeys, and trainers concealed. Participants place wagers after seeing a brief video clip of the race in the corner of the screen. The games are currently being used at Kentucky Downs in Franklin and Ellis Park in Henderson.
The Courier-Journal reports it remains to be seen whether the Kentucky high court will decide, once and for all, whether Instant Racing games can operate in the Bluegrass State. The ruling being appealed was technical in nature, did not address the legality of the game and returned the case to the first court to hear the matter.
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.