Churchills Sues in Texas

Churchill files lawsuit in regard to telephone and internet wagering in Texas.
September 26, 2012

Generic Racing Photo

According to an article published in the Daily Racing Form Churchill Downs Inc. filed a federal lawsuit on Sept. 21 seeking to block the Texas Racing Commission from 'enforcing a prohibition on telephone and internet betting on horse races in the state.'

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, the suit is the first to be filed that seeks to overturn the state's current prohibitions on such wagering.

The suit stems from a letter sent by the Texas Racing Commission in late 2011 to account wagering companies such as, which is owned by Churchill Downs. The letter reiterated that "Texas law requires bettors to be 'in person' at a racetrack or simulcasting enclosure in order to place a bet." The letter also cited a law that was passed earlier that year which explicitly stated that internet and telephone betting on horse racing "violated the 'in-person' provision."

Churchill acknowledges in the suit that Texas law has banned phone and internet wagering for a long time. Churchill, however, contends that the state racing commission did not begin to enforce the ban on account wagering until 2011 as part of an effort to direct business to in-state tracks.

Under the current laws, residents of Texas are only allowed to bet 'in-person' at seven locations in the state. It is for this reason that companies are eager to gain a foothold and to be able to offer phone and internet wagering