Pace-O-Matic files lawsuit over ‘gray machine’ law

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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A lawsuit was filed at Franklin Circuit Court on Tuesday seeking to halt enforcement of the recently enacted legislation, which was signed by Gov. Andy Beshear, banning so-called “gray machines” in Kentucky.

Pace-O-Matic, one of the manufacturers of the games, maintains they are skill games and not games of chance. Businesses where the games are located, and several people who play them, are listed as plaintiffs in the suit.

“The types of skill-based games and game devices, including the Game, that are invidiously and discriminatorily banned and made illegal by the amendment are no different in substance and form from the skill-based games and game devices used in e-sport competitions, game devices used in skill-based contests, and coin-operated amusement machines that are excluded from the ban by the Amendment, and, therefore, the ban is underinclusive, arbitrary and capricious, and without any substantial or rational basis,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit also notes, “The public interest in the protection of the Kentucky Constitution’s guarantees of free speech, due process, and equal protection, as well as the guarantees against special legislation, the impairment of contracts, and the taking of property without just compensation, and other constitutional rights, is served by the issuance of a preliminary and permanent injunction.”

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They also seek a temporary and permanent injunction, preventing law enforcement, prosecutors, government officers and administrative agencies from enforcing the Amendment against Plaintiffs and other similarly situated persons or entities.

In a statement from Pace-O-Matic, Chief Public Affairs Officer Michael Barley says, “Pace-O-Matic, along with several other skill game operators, locations and players, can confirm that we have filed this complaint. Legislation banning skill games is unconstitutional and we are prepared to defend the legality of our games in court. Our priority is, and always has been, protecting the rights of Kentucky small businesses and fraternal organizations who rely on legal games of skill for income.”

When he signed the bill earlier this month, Beshear said, “I think it’s time we had full-blown casinos in Kentucky, but it’s an industry that absolutely has to be regulated and it needs to be legal.  Gray machines are entirely unregulated, and I don’t believe they are legal.  They came into Kentucky and just set up and were taking dollars from Kentuckians and taking them out of state, with zero regulation, zero taxation, and zero help for those who may develop any issues from using them.”

A hearing has not been scheduled.