Betting on all but the dogs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2005:
DELEVAN, DAYTONA, LACONIA–The 15-year-old Geneva Lakes
Greyhound Track in Delavan, Wisconsin ended live racing on November
6, 2005, with telecasting of races at other tracks due to end in
About 450 of the estimated 1,000 dogs housed at Delavan were
offered for adoption by the local chapter of Greyhound Pets of
America, formed in 1989. Greyhound Pets of America is the largest
U.S. greyhound rescue group to be partially subsidized by the
Of the five greyhound tracks opened in Wisconsin during the
early 1990s, only the Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha is still
operating. Geneva Lakes Greyhound Track general manager blamed the
closures on competition from Native American gambling casinos. The
casino operators have managed to keep the Wisconsin greyhound tracks
from expanding into other forms of gambling.
The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission on October 13 rejected an
application from the National Cattle Congress to reopen the Waterloo
Greyhound Park, closed in 1996, as hub of a riverboat casino
The increasing economic anxiety of the U.S. greyhound
industry and allure of other forms of gambling to help make ends meet
were underscored in Rhode Island by federal prison sentences meted
out on October 28 to Daniel Bucci, former general manager of the
Lincoln Park track in New Hampshire, and Nigel Potter, former chief
executive of Wembley PLC, the British-based parent firm.
“They were convicted in August 2005 of conspiring to bribe
former Rhode Island House Speaker John Harwood with up to $4 million
to muster support for more gambling machines at the park and to block
a rival casino proposed by the Narragansett Indian Tribe,” reported
Florida Division of PariMutuel Wagering data shows that the
money wagered on live greyhound races at the Daytona Kennel Club fell
from $22 million in 2000 to $12.9 million in 2004. Yet track poker
receipts rose from $707,895 to $3.4 million.
Statewide, Florida greyhound racing tax and fee income as
recently as 1997 amounted to $33.7 million, but dropped to just
$12.7 million in 2004–a 62% decline. State poker income increased
from $336,469 to nearly $1.7 million during the same years, for an
increase of 397%.
Three Broward County greyhound tracks on September 28, 2005
won from the Florida Court of Appeals the opportunity to add slot
machines to their gambling options.
Massachusetts attorney general Tom Reilly, expected to run
for governor in 2006, meanwhile “accepted eight donations totaling
$4,000 from members and associates of the Carney family, which
operates the Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park,” reported Casey Ross of
the Boston Herald on October 26.
This was a week before the Massachusetts senate passed a bill
which would allow greyhound tracks to install as many as 2,000 slot
machines apiece on their premises–“significantly benefiting an
industry that Reilly oversees,” Ross noted.
“Reilly, who has been publicly quiet on the issue, has
previously accepted $500 donations from other racetrack owners such
as Charles Sarkis, who owns Wonderland, and Joe O’Donnell, who
holds the controlling share in Suffolk Downs,” Ross added.
The Ross expose broke a month after Grey2K USA began
collecting signatures on petitions to place on the 2006 ballot an
initiative which would end greyhound racing in Massachusetts by 2008,
while increasing the penalties for breeding fighting dogs and abusing
police and service dogs. Grey 2K USA will need 66,000 signatures
from Massa-chusetts registered voters. Grey2K USA grew out of a 2000
initiative campaign to end dog racing that failed to win approval by
barely 1% of the vote.
The Lakes Region Greyhound Park in Belmont, New Hampshire,
closed on April 27, 2005, may reopen in January 2006 as a project
of the Torguson Gaming Group of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
According to John Koziol of the Laconia Citizen, “Formally
operated by the New Hampshire Gaming Association, the track has been
rocked by two separate investigations into alleged illegal activities
since January 2005. Following the indictment of two former managers
in New York on illegal gambling and money-laundering charges, New
Hampshire Gaming agreed to surrender its license to the state
Pari-Mutuel Commission, and also agreed to put the track up for sale.
“Moultonboro developer David Johnston and a group of
investors bid $4.1 million for the facility,” Koziol added, “but
that deal fell apart in June after federal authorities broke up a
drug-trafficking and money-laundering ring that was allegedly
operated from the track. Johnston then approached Torguson, who
pioneered casino gambling on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Torguson
eventually bought Johnston’s rights to buy the track from New
Torguson appears to have acquired the Lakes Region Greyhound
Park in anticipation of eventually being allowed to operate slot
In August 2005 a consortium of Nevada gaming firms bought
Rockingham Park, of Salem, New Hampshire, apparently with the same
strategy in mind.
The Seabrook Greyhound Park a few days earlier cut losses by
reducing the racing schedule and laying off half its staff.