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Red Mile Pushes Pause On Historical Horse Racing Gaming

Red Mile

On Sunday, historical horse racing machines have been temporarily shut down at the Red Mile after the State Supreme Court declined a petition to revisit its earlier ruling that the gaming was illegal. In a joint statement with the Keeneland Association said in part "We were disappointed the Kentucky Supreme Court denied our petition for rehearing. At this time, Keeneland and Red Mile have made the very difficult decision to temporarily close historical horse racing operations until there is more clarity surrounding the situation Historical horse racing machines are temporarily shutting down at Red Mile Gaming & Racing in Lexington, Kentucky.” 

In September, justices ruled that the slot machine-like gaming does not fall under the state’s definition of pari-mutuel wagering. While casino gambling is illegal in Kentucky, live horse racing wagering is considered pari-mutuel wagering and is legal. The industry started in 2011 and quickly gained legs, earning more than $2 billion a year in wagers.

Those who support historical horse racing plan to push a bill during the 2021 legislative session that would include gaming machines as pari-mutuel wagering. Lawmakers who support it say dismantling the industry would cost the state billions, several Republicans say it perpetuates gambling and are reluctant to support it.