Capital News Service: Greyhound Racing Survives, But For How Long
May 12, 2014
Efforts to allow tracks to stop live-racing of greyhounds and operate card rooms failed in Tallahassee this year. The effort was couched in terms of animal cruelty, but it but blew up when legislation requiring tracks to implement safety measures got traction.
First, lawmakers, including the Senate President, tried to allow greyhound tracks to stop racing but keep card rooms.
“The whole reason the tracks wanted to do this was so that they could become casinos,” said Jack Cory of the Florida Greyhound Association. “The greyhound tracks in Florida have had an unholy alliance with Las Vegas for 20 years”
When shutting down dog racing failed, efforts to require injury reporting of the dogs passed the State Senate.
“It just seems to me to be perhaps inhuman in some cases,” said Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
Greyhound racing proponents kept saying there were three things that could be done if people were concerned about greyhound safety.
In some tracks, the wires powering the mechanical rabbit known as Rusty are exposed. They carry 240 volts.
“We put three safety points maintaining the tracks’ surface, having a break away on and covering 240 volts of exposed electricity to greyhounds, which is where the majority of the injuries happen,” said Cory. “Tracks oppose that.”
That was enough to kill the legislation, but for breeders like Gene Gurley, every effort to kill racing takes a toll on his breeding farm’s revenue.
“If they decoupled, what the heck would you do with 100 dogs?” said Gurley. “Your investment could be shot. So we started trimming back a long time ago because every year they come up with this.”
Of the $88 million bet last year at greyhound tracks in Florida, $11 million was paid in taxes to the state, which then gave the track operators an $8 million tax break.
Guest Opinion: Expansion of Gambling a Bad Bet for Florida
September 18, 2018
HOT OFF THE PRESSES!!! FLORIDA DECOUPLING FAILS AGAIN