A Dying Industry

About Dog Racing

Cloverleaf Greyhound ParkOver the past two decades, commercial dog racing has experienced a catastrophic economic decline, and now represents less than 1% of all wagers made each year in the United States.

The market demand for dog racing shrinks each year. Competition from other forms of gambling, coupled with increased awareness of the cruelty of dog racing, has had a significant negative impact on racetrack revenues.

In response, dog track promoters aggressively seek assistance from sympathetic politicians. This has led to some racetracks receiving direct subsidies. In other states, tracks have been given multiple tax breaks, special trust funds, and expanded gambling rights.

More than anything, dog track promoters lobby for the right to install slot machines and other electronic gambling devices at their racetracks. Proposals to legalize slot machines at dog tracks almost always tie dog racing to slot machines, requiring by law that dogs continue to race as a platform for expanded gambling. Even though this marriage of two unrelated forms of gambling makes little sense, it is politically convenient. Dog track promoters can then argue for the legalization of slot machines as a way to save commercial dog racing.

NY Times

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