Iowa moves one step closer to ending greyhound racing

Last year and now this year, Harrah’s Entertainment is urging the state government in Iowa to drop the mandate for greyhound racing. As it stands now, the dog racing industry is protected by Iowa (and in other states), with a mandate that tracks and casinos must be tied at the hip.

My question here is always – why? Why force casinos to prop up a cruel industry? If the state is going to allow gambling, just let the people gamble on cards and dice and machines, etc. Why does the exploitation of animals have to be part of it? It’s just a requirement based on some decades-old, out-of-date, out-of-touch idea.

It’s time to drop these requirements, as Harris is requesting in Iowa – according to a story posted Wednesday on the Des Moines Register website. The state has two remaining dog tracks.

Senate Study Bill 1064 was bumped forward in committee on Wednesday.

The amount of money wagered at the two Iowa tracks is on a yearly decline. But despite this fact, a racing lobbyist is quoted in the article as saying – “It’s a growing industry.” That must be at some far away track called Fantasy Land.

The final paragraph reviews the history of this unfair protection the greyhound industry holds. No other industry I can think of has its very existence protected by a state government in this way.

“” “”

As the popularity of greyhound tracks dwindled in favor of riverboat gambling and slot machines, state lawmakers in 1994 devised a strategy: In order to have slot machines, the Council Bluffs track had to race dogs 290 days a year; the Dubuque track 130 days. Both tracks were required to then use gaming profits to keep afloat the greyhound side of their business.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by D Gary Grady on February 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    The original idea, of course, was to pretend to limit the expansion of gambling by permitting it only in the places where gambling was already going on, namely dog tracks. If it ever made sense, it doesn’t any more, because today casino gambling isn’t an extra revenue source at dog tracks, it’s the *only* revenue source at casinos that are forced to subsidize a money-losing dog track to keep their licenses.

    As plenty of states have demonstrated, gambling can be limited in other ways. Dog racing is a dying industry that both the free market and common decency would get rid of if they could. Only naive (or bought and paid for) legislators keep propping it up rather than getting rid of this archaic imitation “sport.”


  2. Posted by Caryn on February 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Very true, Tom. And the fact that this industry involves humans trying to have greyhounds earn money for those humans makes that protection even more shameful, IMO.


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