Tracks Paid Consultant Firm
On July 20, 2010, Kentucky's Horse Racing Commission adopted new regulations purporting to authorize a new form of electronic slot gaming, known as historical horse racing. On the same day, the Commission and Racetracks filed an “agreed case” under KRS 418.020, asking the Franklin Circuit Court to determine whether it was legal to license and operate the games in Kentucky.
That question remains unanswered and is currently before the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Rather than waiting for the Court to answer its question, the Commission has opted to rely upon the "legal opinion" of a non-lawyer consultant from New Jersey who claims that the slot gaming is legal pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. Interestingly, this consultant's employer, Gaming Labratories International (GLI) was paid $860,849.67 by the vendors and certain Kentucky Racetracks.
On April 9, 2013, then Commission member Edward Bonnie stated: “We are paying our expert to tell us and he knows what we want him to say. And he has said it.”
The role that money played in the non-lawyer's opinion appears to be confirmed by the fact that GLI actually examined the same slot gaming in Wyoming and informed the Attorney General it was illegal because the requirements of pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing were not satisfied.
The payments to the consultant and other questionable behavior was exposed by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting on April 30, 2019.
Michael Fagan, a former assistant U.S. Attorney who specialized in gambling cases, responded by stating: "The industry that is supposed to be regulated is buying its own regulator."