GREY2K USA Worldwide: History

History of Greyhound Racing in the United States of America

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 2017, greyhound racing is legal and operational in just six US states following declines in greyhound gambling of 70% since 1990. Seven other jurisdictions, Australia, Ireland, Macau (SAR of China), Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam have also legalized dog racing and many are experiencing similar financial struggles.


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