Ellis Park officials say they could close if a solution isn’t reached on historical horse racing

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Keeneland and Red Mile in Lexington have temporarily closed after the state Supreme Court declined to reconsider its ruling that at least some of the games aren’t legal. Ellis Park officials say they could close, too, if a permanent solution is not found.

Historical racing features machines allowing people to bet on randomly generated, past horse races. According to Ellis Park’s website, the track has more than 300 historic horse racing gaming machines.

In a statement sent to Eyewitness News, General Manager of Ellis Park Jeffery Inman says –

Without the revenue associated with HHR, there is no realistic path forward for Ellis Park.  Were we to rely only on Racing and Simulcast revenue, we could not even keep this 99 year old facility maintained, let alone provide the financial investment necessary to prepare for and conduct a world-class live race meet.  Without HHR support, purses would drop dramatically, resulting in a greatly diminished live racing product. In short, the loss of HHR revenue at Ellis Park would likely threaten the very survival of one of Kentucky’s iconic racing venues.

In September, the state Supreme Court ruled the gaming machines don’t fall under the category of part-mutual gaming. This week, the court announced it does not plan to re-visit the decision at this moment.

(This story was originally published on January 26, 2021)

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