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Justices to hear arguments over Indy OTB smoking

December 18, 2015

The Indiana Supreme Court has scheduled arguments next month that could determine whether an Indianapolis off-track betting parlor may continue to allow smoking that’s otherwise banned in Marion County bars, restaurants and public places.

Justices on Wednesday issued an order setting oral arguments for Jan. 28 on an appeal sought by Hoosier Park, owner of The Winner’s Circle satellite wagering facility in downtown Indianapolis. Hoosier Park wants the court to grant transfer in its challenge of a Court of Appeals ruling in June that struck down the portion of a city ordinance that exempted The Winner’s Circle from a smoking ban.

On Dec. 11, the Supreme Court denied a petition for transfer from Indianapolis bar owners who want to allow patrons to smoke and claim the city is trying to have it both ways – enacting an ordinance that says banning smoking is an issue of public health but supporting an exemption for the OTB.

Hoosier Park argues the OTB is distinguishable from bars, taverns and restaurants because its operations are governed by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. Indianapolis’ smoking ordinance properly deferred to the commission’s regulations concerning smoking in wagering facilities, Hoosier Park says.

Oral argument is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Jan. 28 in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom. The case is Whistle Stop Inn, Inc., and Louise Liford d/b/a Thirsty Turtle v. City of Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard, Indianapolis City-County Council and Hoosier Park, LLC 49A02-1407-MI-519.

Read more about this case in the Dec. 30 edition of Indiana Lawyer.

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