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Greyhound Racing May Die Because It Is Bad Business

Greyhound Racing May Die Because It Is Bad Business

The American Greyhound Track Owners Association is holding their national convention this week in Las Vegas.  The event is expected to draw a mere 120 people, making it the lowest attendance in history.  The lack of participants is a significant sign that greyhound racing is coming to an end, but you’ll be surprised why racetracks are closing.

 

Just fifteen years ago, the national convention drew more than 400 participants and the industry was active.  Now more than half of the tracks in the U.S. have closed, four of them last year.  Could it be a victory for the hard work animal welfare groups have done in gaining public support to stop the cruel sport?  Or are they closing because people have found a bigger and better way to gamble? 

 

While animal organizations can definitely take credit for some of the decline, the Las Vegas Sun says racetracks are shutting down because of lack of business.  According to the U.S. Association of Racing Commissioners, betting on dog races has declined from $3.5 billion in 1991 to $1.1 billion in 2007. 

 

Racetrack owners are putting the blame on the expansion of Las Vegas style casinos in many parts of the country and statewide lotteries.  Fred Fulchino, owner of Regall Sports Kennel said, “People want instant gratification. They want to put in three dollars, pull a lever and win $10,000.” 

 

The industry has turned so sour that even casinos like Harrah’s Entertainment are working with lawmakers to ban greyhound racing.  Jan Jones, senior vice president of communications and government relations for Harrah’s, told The Las Vegas Sun that her company is losing so much money, they are now trying to convince Iowa legislators to outlaw dog racing. 

 

In several states like Iowa, casinos are only legalized when they are located on the site of a greyhound or horse racetrack.  And casino companies are required to split a portion of the income from slot machines with racetrack owners and breeders.  This has cost them millions of dollars.  According to a study by Harrah’s Entertainment, ‘greyhound owners and kennels competing in Iowa have received $140 million in casino revenue since 1995.’ 

 

On the other hand, breeders and racetrack owners aren’t ready to see the industry completely banned and their casino income halted.  Instead they want to give up live racing and offer simulcast races.  This would allow gamblers to bet on races in other areas such as Florida where the industry hasn’t been hit as badly. 

 

Carey Theil, executive director of Grey2K USA isn’t entirely satisfied with this plan, but he is surprised by the turn of events.  His non-profit greyhound advocacy organization works to outlaw dog racing and has successfully stopped it in Massachusetts.  Lately Theil has been hearing from track owners and companies like Harrah’s. 

 

One of the reason’s Harrah’s wants to talk to Grey2K USA is because the company isn’t entirely comfortable with the practice of racing animals that many people consider pets.  Jones said, “We’re not sure this is a business we want to be in.”

 

Theil said, “It’s so odd to be agreeing with people who have spent millions fighting you after so many years.  It’s like Alice in Wonderland.”

 

Time will tell if greyhound racing will finally come to an end.  Roy Berger, executive vice president of Dairyland Greyhound Park in Wisconsin, which closed last year, said: “The product became an antique.  We were an 8-track cassette store in a world of CDs.”  Maybe it’s time to close up shop.

 

 

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277 comments

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3:08PM PDT on Jul 9, 2010

I hope there are plans to properly care for the retired dogs.

The closing of the industry MUST be accompanied by a serious commitment by owners to fully care for the animals or find permanent homes for them.

It would be better for them to continue racing than to be sent to shelters and pounds.

10:52AM PDT on Jun 13, 2010

Too many greyhounds and horses needlessly are injured or killed due to the race track or fences. There are many other methods of gambling.

11:02PM PDT on May 19, 2010

Greyhounds are some of the Sweetest & most gentle dogs I've ever seen.

11:20AM PDT on May 15, 2010

OH MY GOD WHEN IT IS EVER GOING TO END WITH THE SUFFERING AND CRUELTY, IT MUST END NOW.

11:48AM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

Would be nice if the knocked it off and got their gambling jollies playing poker or black jack or something that doesnt exploit animals.

2:32PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

Unfortunately Holly you are living in a dream world, where race horses are treated humanely...they are not, nor are the dogs. Most of the time when animals are exploited, comes with that abuse on the highest level!!! No more dog races and no more horse races...period!!!!

10:51AM PDT on Apr 7, 2010

I am not necessarily against Greyhound racing. I have adopted several of these beautiful animals after their racing days are over. THEY LOVE TO RACE...they love to run! If the animals that provide this "entertainment" are treated humanely, like race horses and well cared for, why not let them do what they love to do....RUN!!! My beautiful 15 year old brindle greyhound, "Peaches" just passed away. She sucessfully ran the track in Florida for 4 years as a big winner....I was blessed enough to adopt her when her days of running were over. My other brindle greyhound "Lacey" is 12 years old and happily living a retirement with me and is one of the finest animals that has walked "run" the face of the earth.

After the big expose on the way the Greyhounds were being "destroyed" and very inhumanely, I may add, a new step toward treating these beautiful creatures and their inhumane destruction after their usefulness was over, has surfaced. Greyhound racing is fun and the dogs are incredibly happy when they have won! My "Lacey", even though she has arthritis, still loves to run and does it with an amount of happiness hard to describe.

Humane treatment and loving care after their racing days are over is the answer!

PS...and I am not a gambler but any means....(except for buying my lotto tickets.....)

7:23AM PDT on Apr 4, 2010

There are some people in my neighborhood who have adopted "retired" greyhounds....that goodness for them or those animals would have been but down. I agree with Little Linda that these animals should be cared for by the establishment using them for profit when their "earning" days have passed.

1:04PM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

Regardless of the WHY, it is definitely a great day for all doggie lovers, when Greyhounds are no longer forced to race!

8:14AM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

All animal entertainment must be stopped!

Did you know that Hawaii is considering to list cock-fighting as part of the Hawaiian culture?


Sharon could you please investigate further and keep us posted?

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