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Churchill Downs Files Lawsuit in Texas

Recent action by the Texas Racing Commission to enforce its ban on Internet and telephone wagering has resulted in a lawsuit filed by Churchill Downs Inc. and TwinSpires.com.

In the suit, filed Sept. 21 in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas against members of the Texas Racing Commission and its executive director, Churchill Downs contends the legislation allowing only wagers permitted are those made in person at a live or simulcast facility is unconstitutional. And to support its argument, Churchill notes that the Texas commission has declined to enforce its own ban on Internet and telephone wagering, thus allowing Texans to carry out such activity since the early 1990s.

"Since the 1986 enactment of the Texas Racing Act, Texas law has required any Texan wishing to wager on a horse race to do so in person," Churchill's suit states. "But tellingly, the in-person requirement has gone unenforced. Texans have placed wagers via telephone or the Internet on out-of-state races since the 1990s-and the Racing Commission has allowed them to do so. State officials do not ordinarily shirk their duty to reinforce state law. But they also have a higher duty: 'Of the legislative act is a contravention of the Constitution the office shall obey the Constitution.'

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