SBD/September 27, 2012/Facilities

Churchill Downs Inc. Challenging Texas Law That Would Ban Gambling Sites

Churchill Downs Inc. is "asking a federal judge in Texas to keep account wagering services such as Churchill’s open, arguing that a new state effort to block online gambling is unconstitutional," according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. In the federal lawsuit, filed Sept. 21 in U.S. District Court in Austin, CDI also "seeks a preliminary injunction allowing it to continue operations in Texas." CDI was given a Sept. 25 deadline to "file suit challenging the law, stop taking bets from Texans or comply with a subpoena seeking information about bets by Texans." A CDI spokesperson said that the company "does not discuss pending litigation," but that the company is "continuing to operate in Texas." CDI argues that Texas regulators for years did not "enforce the 'in person' requirements, which Churchill said are a violation of the U.S. Constitution's interstate commerce clause." The complaint states Texas' rules are "tantamount to forcing Pepsi to sell its soda only through Coke vending machines, only if Coke consents." The original law, passed in '86, was written "before the rise of Internet wagering and also restricted wagering from the standpoint of the person placing the bet rather than the entity taking the bet." Texas Racing Commission Communication Specialist Bill Childs said an '11 revision of the law "cleared up any ambiguity" that existed under the old law (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 9/26).
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