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Kentucky Legislature Passes Bill Banning 'Gray Games'

The bill goes now heads to Gov. Andy Beshear for his signature.

A legal historical horse racing gaming device

A legal historical horse racing gaming device

The Mint Gaming Hall Photo

Those opposed to gaming in Kentucky except for locations with historical horse racing devices applauded the passage in the Kentucky Legislature of House Bill 594, which bans devices in the state known as "gray games."

Gray games have popped up at some bars and restaurants in Kentucky in recent years, with proprietors calling them games of skill that drew customers to their businesses and opponents viewing them as illegal casino games.

Two years ago, the legality of slot-like HHR devices was also questioned before the state passed language amending the state's racing and gambling laws that clarified HHR as legal.

HB 594 now goes to the desk of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who is expected to sign it. 

There are enough votes for the legislature to override a veto should he decline. It passed the Senate, 29-6, in a vote March 14.

Racetracks in Kentucky, which have accumulated massive profits from HHR, were among those against gray games, as were numerous equine industry groups, such as the Kentucky Equine Education Project. Revenues from HHR have been responsible for the boon to race purses, leading to more investment in the industry.

"Getting this bill across the finish line was an incredible effort, and KEEP is grateful to the legislators who supported the bill through the committee process and voted to pass the bill on the House and Senate floors," KEEP announced in a statement.