A new report indicates six greyhound race tracks could shut down if the coupling effort is successful in Florida. The state legislature has been debating for some time the possibility of dropping the requirement that casinos there hold a set number of races each year.
Decoupling would end this requirement, which has been an ongoing effort from racing insiders to gain a level of protection no other industry enjoys. The state has for a long time required greyhound racing to exist. It was a horrible move when it was enacted and it continues to be horrible.
But thankfully, both race track owners and animal-welfare groups such as Grey2K USA are supporting the effort to decouple. It is the breeder groups and others and some members of the state legislature who are still holding on.
The News Herald article includes a wildly inaccurate statement from Mark Hess, associate manager of Ebro Greyhound Park:
“I mean there are millions of tourists that visit Panama City Beach every year, and they come from states that don’t have greyhound racing, and they really enjoy coming out and watching the dogs run.”
That’s quite a stretch, since every photo I’ve seen of late from any US dog track shows more dogs on the track than bodies in the stands. Attendance is down and betting on racing is down and dog racing is a money loser. But despite these facts and despite the suffering and death for the dogs, the state of Florida is still offering this disappointing and uncaring protection for the industry.
The claim is there are 2,000 in attendance some nights. Does that number include people gambling on other activities at the facility? The report cited in the News Herald article states the tracks really don’t record attendance. And then there is following that seems to discredit the quote above –
Ebro was among three tracks where the amount wagered on live racing was “nearly non-existent,” the study said.
The report states the greyhound racing industry cost the state’s taxpayers $1 million for the fiscal year 2011-12.
If other non-operating regulatory expenses were considered, the state would have lost an additional $3.3 million, the study said, noting Ebro only paid $21,545 in state taxes.
Despite all of these facts, some people still want the industry to be able to kill and injure dogs and take from taxpayers.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic