Florida Greyhound Industry on Verge of Closure

Casino Watch has reported on the many struggles of the Greyhound industry, including the newest attempts in Florida to decouple other forms of gambling from the dog racing industry to help put an end to the industry. With reports of animal abuse and mass amounts of racing dogs being put down, its no surprise people are hoping to end the industry. The News Herald online is reporting that the industry has seen a tremendous downturn and is on the verge of closure, but hopes to hold on long enough to keep gambling licenses after decoupling legislation is finalized, thus allowing them to stop greyhound racing altogether: 

Betting on live racing has fallen from almost $1 billion in 1990 to $258 million last year in Florida, home to 12 of the 21 U.S. tracks that regularly hold live dog races.

Hess said the track’s handle is up, and it is committed to offering live greyhound racing.

The owners of many tracks — along with ghost tracks that now offer only simulcast racing — are aiming to survive long enough for states to let them drop dog racing altogether and just run casinos.

Marc Dunbar, a Tallahassee attorney whose practice focuses on gaming and government law, said there are several political factors at work that he believes eventually will lead to the end of dog racing throughout the state.

“If I was telling my kids an industry to get into for their future, it would not be breeding greyhounds,” he said.

The News Herald goes on to explain that the hope of independent stand alone slot machines being allowed in those venues seems to be unlikely given the Seminole Compact that is in place:

If slot machines were allowed in dog tracks, it would not generate nearly as much for the state as the revenues from the Seminole compact, Dunbar said.

“We have eight facilities [with slot machines] operating in South Florida, and all eight of them don’t produce as much as the Seminole Tribe does,” he said. “The compact says any expansion outside of the eight existing facilities in Dade and Broward will shut off the Seminole’s payments.”

Senate President Don Gaetz said Wednesday he could not predict whether legislation will be introduced in the next legislative session to allow slot machines at dog tracks or decoupling.

He said he wouldn’t mind if dog racing ended, as there are many instances of inhumane treatment of greyhound dogs at tracks throughout the state, including at Ebro.


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