Fonner Park Banned from Offering Historical Horse Racing Machines

Fonner Park Banned from Offering Historical Horse Racing Machines

A judge in Nebraska recently blocked Fonner Park from offering historical horse racing (HHR) machines to its patrons. The court has sent a restraining order for the same.

A big blow to Fonner Park

According to the ruling, Fonner Park will not be able to install 50 HHR terminals at its Grand Island track, located 90 miles from Lincoln. This decision goes against the Nebraska Racing Commission which approved the machines in July last year with a 3-2 vote. The commission said at the time that the state constitution allowed pari-mutuel wagering on horse races.

Fonner Park Banned from Offering Historical Horse Racing Machines

The members who voted in favor of HHR machines said that these PariMAX machines in question meet the definition of pari-mutuel wagering. A report from the commission stated,

“The essential element of a pari-mutuel wagering system is that the patron does not wager against the Association. HHR and PariMAX satisfy that element.”

The final order related to the machines was published in December 2019 and track officials planned to install them by February 2020.

The legal status of HHR

HHR machines look a lot like convention slot machines. However, bettors are allowed to select the running order and pick winners of a previous run race. The decision of a bet is taken on the basis of these factors. Now, the Racing Commission stands in opposition to the state Attorney General.

In January, Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a suit to the track from installing HHR machines. He noted that the commission did not have the authority to approve their use. He also argued that state laws allow pari-mutuel betting but only when live racing events happen. These events have to take place in Nebraska but they can also be made available via a simulcast feed. Judge Andrew Jacobson from Lancaster County District upheld Peterson’s views said that his case will most likely be successful in courts.

Peterson clarified that the law is clear on what is to be allowed. He added that the Racing Commission was advised by the Attorney General’s office on this matter in November 2018 but three members of the commission ignored them and voted in favor of the HHR machines.

Neither Fonner Park nor the Racing Commission has commented on the matter yet. On the other hand, Kentucky is using HHR machines to let its racing industry grow. Fonner Park used Kentucky’s success to argue in favor of the legality of these machines.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.