It Means Mutual
“Pari-mutuel wagering” is a simple concept whereby players bet with/among/against each other on the outcome of an uncertain event.
‘Pari” is the French word for betting on the outcome of an uncertain event. “Pari-” is modified by the French word “mutuel” which means reciprocal. So, “pari-mutuel wagering” is reciprocal wagering on the outcome of an uncertain event.
In Kentucky, pari-mutuel wagering is associated with horseraces where multiple players bet with/among/against each other on the outcome of a common horserace, or a common group of horseraces.
Historical horse racing slot gaming is starkly different. In historical horse racing, a discrete player places a discrete wager on a randomly selected discrete event. No other discrete player is betting on the same discrete randomly selected event. Because of that, a discrete historical horse racing bet is not placed in a “wagering pool” because there is no other bet on that discrete randomly selected event. Because of this, there are no pay-out odds determined by players betting among each other on the same event. Instead, historical horse racing uses predetermined mathematical formulas to determine prize outcomes.
Consider a hypothetical office pool of “historical basketball”. On September 15, 2019, one player would bet a dollar to win an office pool on a randomly selected NCAA Basketball Tournament such as the 1986 tournament won by the University of Louisville. On August 10, 2029, a different single player would bet a dollar to win an office pool on a different randomly selected NCAA Basketball Tournament such as the 1978 tournament won by the University of Kentucky. On July 5, 2039, another different single player would bet a dollar to win an office pool on another different randomly selected NCAA Basketball Tournament such as the 2015 tournament won by Duke.
No person is betting with/among/against any other person at the same time or on the same randomly selected tournament. The bets in 2029 and 2039 have no effect on the outcome of the person’s bet in 2019. The bet in 2039 has no effect on the outcome of the persons’ bets in 2019 and 2029. While the player who wins or loses in 2019 may theoretically affect the amount of money lost which may be won two decades later, the reverse is not true for the bets in 2029 and 2039. A won or lost bet in 2029 or 2039 does not affect the amount of money the player in 2019 may win. Each of the bets is discrete and has no reciprocal effect on the other bets either as to amount or odds of winning. In other words, players are not reciprocally betting among each other.
Without reciprocity, there is no “mutuel” (or “among themselves”). Without “mutuel” wagering, there is no pari-mutuel wagering.
When a patron chooses his own machine, and the machine randomly chooses his own historical race, and the patron places his own wager at his own time, he is not wagering against, among or with ANYONE else. He is not in a “wagering pool” – he is simply trying to win money that others have already lost and has been placed in a pool stewarded by the House. If it is pari-mutuel, answer the question, “Who is he wagering against, among or with?”
Kentucky's Horse Racing Commission and racetracks created a fiction whereby the comingling of lost bets over an indefinite amount of time magically transforms players betting decades apart on different events into players who are betting among each other on the outcome of the same uncertain event. Under such flawed reasoning, everyone who takes a shower, regardless of when and where must be showering among each other as long as the shower water runs into the same sewer.
If not reversed, the Kentucky Supreme Court will have presided over the largest expansion of gambling in the Commonwealth's history.