The first recognized commercial greyhound racetrack in the world was built in Emeryville, California in 1919 by Owen Patrick Smith and the Blue Star Amusement Company. The track was oval in design and featured Smith’s new invention, the mechanical lure, thought to offer a more humane alternative to the live lures used in traditional greyhound field coursing. By 1930, sixty-seven dog tracks had opened across the United States — none legal.
In 2021, greyhound racing is legal and operational in just four US states following declines in greyhound gambling of 32% since 2010. Six other jurisdictions, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam have also legalized dog racing and many are experiencing similar financial struggles.
Dog racing also continues in the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. However, on October 16, 2019, the owners of Southland Park announced that in response to the Florida phase-out, that they too would begin to wind down live racing operations. The only dog track in Arkansas will completely end racing by December 31, 2022. The announcement came after negotiations among the racing kennels, ownership and greyhound advocates.