by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio
The Family Foundation of Kentucky says violating state gambling laws should be a Class D Felony instead of misdemeanor offense.
The conservative policy group announced plans to seek legislative support for the stiffer penalty today. It’s partially a response to tomorrow’s launch of instant racing games at the Kentucky Downs horse racing track. Instant racing allows gamblers to bet on past horse races using a device that resembles a slot machine.
Family Foundation executive director Kent Ostrander has worked for the past year to stop instant racing, which was approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and not the General Assembly.
“Legislators know that they have been violated,” he says. “Their branch of government has not authorized any of this. And so in essence the bringing of these machines in is basically the governor and the attorney general and what have you saying ‘These things have been legal all along, we’re just realizing that today.’ And that is bogus.”
A Franklin Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of the horse racing commission but the Family Foundation filed a brief in the case last week with the Court of Appeals.
Kentucky Downs will be the first track to try out instant racing. Churchill Downs officials have said they want to wait until the matter is settled in court before investing in instant racing machines.