There are two greyhound tracks in West Virginia, Wheeling Island Casino & Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes. Races are conducted year-round at both facilities, with a total of 513 race meets held in 2019.1 As recently as April 2022, a total of 560 dogs raced at Mardi Gras and 903 at Wheeling.2
Since 2008, over 10,000 dogs have been injured while racing in the state. According to state records, innocent hounds suffered torn and twisted muscles, dislocations, seizures, heat stroke, broken tails and puncture wounds – and just since 2021, more than a dozen dogs have died! GT’s Cocobolo had a heart attack at the age of three. One-year-old Flying Betty Lou crushed her skull in a practice race. And poor Living Fast died of a seizure. He was just two years old. Other young dogs like Killer Gandalf, One Night Stand and Cry Baby were among the 237 dogs with broken legs in the first half of 2022.
Every year greyhound breeders in West Virginia receive $17 million in subsidies, funds that could otherwise be used for vital state programs like fixing our roads or substance abuse treatment.3
The dogs racing at the state's two dog tracks are bred both in and out of state. According to the President of the West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association, close to 1,000 greyhounds are whelped in West Virginia annually.4 The breeders of West Virginia-bred greyhounds receive subsidies that come from the state's gambling profits. Since 2002, breeders have received over $77 million through the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund.5 In March 2014, lawmakers voted to permanently reduce such subsidies by ten percent.6
The West Virginia Racing Commission regulates greyhound racing in the state and enforces the Rules of Racing.
In 2019, the total amount wagered on live greyhound racing in the state was $13,645,945, a decline of 34 percent from 2010.7