Kentucky's racetracks and Gov. Steve Beshear's administration filed a motion Monday asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to review a recent appeals court ruling that would send instant racing gambling back to Franklin Circuit Court.
"We are seeking review in the Supreme Court because we believe the trial court was correct in concluding that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had statutory authority to adopt the regulation permitting pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races," Dick Brown, spokesman for the Public Protection Cabinet, including the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said in a statement.
In instant racing, which is in place only at Kentucky Downs so far, players bet on previously run races. Through June, more than $114 million has been wagered; most has been returned to players in the form of winnings.
"In a divided decision, we believe the Court of Appeals incorrectly decided to return the case to the trial court for discovery on questions not relevant to the legal issues. In her dissenting opinion, Judge Combs agreed with the KHRC that the case was ripe for decision and properly decided by the trial court. Because of the broad impact of the case on one of Kentucky's signature industries, we think the Supreme Court should act without further delay to review this important issue for final determination now."
There was no indication of when the Kentucky Supreme Court might rule on whether to take the case.
The Family Foundation, which challenged the case and won before the Kentucky Court of Appeals, called the racetracks' move "ill-advised." The Family Foundation has 30 days to respond to the state's motion.
"No one can refute that we were denied our day in court when we were forbidden to ask questions in the Franklin Circuit Court," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation. "We would be stunned if the Supreme Court accepts review when, as the appellate court agreed, it is so clear that our basic constitutional due process rights were denied."
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, state Department of Revenue and Kentucky's eight racetracks filed briefs asking the state Supreme Court to review the appeal after the Franklin Circuit Court's ruling was vacated June 15 by the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the case was remanded back to the trial court.
In April 2011, the Supreme Court denied a previous request for review.
Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: janetpattonhl