There is only one greyhound racetrack left in Iowa, the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque. The track holds live races from May through October and held a total of 96 racing performances in 2017.1 As of November 2017, there were ten kennels at the track.2
The Iowa Greyhound Park kennel compound. (Telegraph Herald)
Greyhounds collide at Iowa Greyhound Park. (Iowa Greyhound Park)
Young greyhounds at a breeding farm in Iowa. (Iowa World Herald)
The abandoned dog kennels at Waterloo greyhound park, which closed in 2009. (Forgotten Iowa)
Greyhound racing in Iowa is regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission which enforces pari-mutuel wagering rules. In 2017, a total of $1,281,104 was wagered on live greyhound racing at Iowa’s
Dubuque track, a decline of 41.7% from 2007.3
There are thought to be as many as sixty greyhound farms in Iowa.4 These breeders have historically received subsidies which have come from the state's gambling profits, amounting to almost $14 million annually.5 However, a $72 million casino buyout adopted in 2015 finally eliminated this subsidy arrangement, but called for “cessation” payments to industry participants. Approximately half of the buyout was allocated to breeders and trainers affected by the closure of Council Bluffs in December 2015. The other half was awarded for the continued operation of the Iowa Greyhound Park through the year 2022.6
Thankfully, a portion of the funds was also directed to assist with greyhound welfare and to promote adoption of dogs released from racing.
“2017 Iowa Greyhound Park Kennel Roster,” Igaracing.com, Iowa Greyhound Park, [nd], igaracing.com (accessed November 15, 2017).
“Handle Report Iowa Greyhound Park,” Irgc.iowa.gov, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, November 2017, irgc.iowa.gov (accessed November 15, 2017); “2007 Annual Report,” Irgc.iowa.gov, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, 2008, irgc.iowa.gov (accessed November 15, 2017).
Becca Habegger, “Iowa greyhound breeder fears for future,” KWWL TV News, January 21, 2014, kwwl.com (accessed November 15, 2017).
“Time has come to end dog racing in Iowa,” Editorial, Des Moines Register, February 22, 2014, desmoinesregister.com (accessed November 15, 2017).
“IRGC Meeting-Dubuque,” Irgc.iowa.gov, Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, September 24, 2015, irgc.iowa.gov (accessed November 15, 2017).