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The fading future of greyhound racing


Fifteen years ago, more than 400 people attended the national convention of the American Greyhound Track Owners Association.

This year’s convention, in Las Vegas, is expected to draw 120, the Las Vegas Sun reports — yet another sign that greyhound racing’s days are numbered.

More than half of the nation’s greyhound tracks have closed for lack of business in the past three decades, four in just the past year. 

The recession, competition from casinos, state legislatures increasing gambling taxes and public opposition to the sport have combined to threaten the future of dog racing, but the industry’s downfall can be traced to the 1980s and 1990s when state lotteries were introduced and casinos began to spread beyond Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Wagering on greyhound races in the United States declined from $3.5 billion in 1991 to $1.1 billion in 2007, according to the Association of Racing Commissioners.

The continued decline in dog racing has become even more painful for casino owners who are required to subsidize the tracks as a condition of operating casinos with slot machines.

As Roy Berger, executive vice president of the Dairyland Greyhound Park in Wisconsin, which closed last year, put it: “The product became an antique. We were an 8-track cassette store in a world of CDs.”

(Photo: American Greyhound Track Owners Association)


Comment from Jen Krebs
Time March 23, 2010 at 9:16 am

It is important for people that disagree with dog racing to understand that slot machines prop up this cruel industry. Known as ‘racinos’, gambling facilities with dog tracks subsidize the losses on dog racing with profits from other forms of gambling. Tracks that have been unable to obtain expanded gambling are not financially viable – the Dairyland track in Wisconsin closed at the end of 2009 after many years of failed attempt to get slot machines.

For more information about the cruelty of dog racing and its decline as an industry, please visit http://www.GREY2KUSA.org

Comment from Miss Jan
Time March 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

Let’s hope that the horse racing people get this message: their sport will go the way of dog racing unless and until they clean up their sport and crack down on rampant drug problems affecting people AND horses and stop the extreme abuses of horses caused by everything from racing lame or sick horses to track surfaces guaranteed to cause breakdowns AND in addition have more widespread enforcement of banning trainers and/or owners who are guilty of sending to slaughter any horses who can no longer compete. The so-called sport of kings really is no more than hardscrabble thuggery with animals as the innocent victims and the owners seldom actually making money but because it is “racing” under the Internal Revenue Code can use racing expenses as tax shelters for literally decades. Stop the insanity!!!!!

Comment from Peter
Time March 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm

There’s still plenty of interest in greyhound racing around the country. It will never die, especially in Florida.

It’s alot more interesting than pulling the arm on a slot machine if you ask me.

There are greyhound tracks that are thriving like Wheeling Downs in West Virginia.

Don’t write a death certificate on this sport until you know what you are talking about.

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time March 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Having witnessed it, behind the scenes and first-hand, I will never, ever believe that animal “racing” — whether greyhounds or thoroughbreds or huskies in Alaska — is anything less than animal abuse for human delight (and possible, remote profit). We simply owe our animals companions a better way of life. Each can serve us in so many productive ways. They would never abuse US as such!