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Strong numbers for Instant Racing in Kentucky

April 09, 2012

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The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Monday that the Instant Racing machines at Kentucky Downs in Kentucky posted a 19.75 increase in wagering in March from February's total. According to the story, more than $67.5 million was wagered from last September through March, with players betting more than $15 million last month alone—a $2.5 million increase from February.

For the first time Kentucky Downs netted more than $1 million, with nearly $145,000 going toward Thoroughbred purses. The state's share was more than $225,000, including $52,500 in taxes for the General Fund.

Kentucky Downs is currently the only racetrack in the state offering the Instant Racing machines, which allows bettors to wager on randomly-selected historical races that were already run. Ellis Park has also received approval to install 252 Instant Racing machines with its parlor scheduled to open in early June.

A challenge filed by The Family Foundation has held up the installation of the machines at other racetracks, including at The Red Mile in Lexington. Red Mile president and CEO Joe Costa previously told harnessracing.com that he was waiting until the legal challenges are settled before proceeding on installing the machines, which would likely also come as a joint venture with nearby Keeneland Thoroughbred racetrack.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on The Family Foundation's challenge of the constitutionality of the machines on April 25. After the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission promulgated rules, the Franklin County Circuit Court ruled in December 2010 that Instant Racing is legal.

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