Gaming politics & greyhounds

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2006:

BOSTON–Does anyone care if Native American-run gambling
casinos donate to campaigns to end greyhound racing?
The Massachusetts-based anti-dog racing group Grey2K USA
“receives support from the Humane Society of the U.S.,” which
“routinely accepts cash donations from Indian casinos,” alleged
Boston Herald chief investigative reporter Dave Wedge on April 20,
2006, raising two questions: are casinos actually involved in
anti-greyhound racing efforts, and if they are, is there anything
questionable about opponents of gambling on animals accepting support
from promoters of non-animal based gambling, especially in view that
hundreds of humane societies are partially supported by raffles and
“In my recollection, the only time we have partnered in any
financial way with Indian casinos was in fighting efforts by
greyhound tracks to [get state legislatures to] allow slot machines
at their tracks,” HSUS president Wayne Pacelle told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
This was a fight recently lost in Florida, where the
Hollywood Greyhound Track is now allowed to have slot machines. A
similar proposal is still under legislative consideration in

“I [personally] am against gambling as a matter of public
policy,” Pacelle elaborated. “But I do believe that casinos can be
a natural ally to animal advocates in helping to eradicate greyhound
Greyhound racing opponents taking money from casinos wasn’t
all that Wedge was exercised about.
“Key members of Grey2K are part of the National Coalition
Against Legalized Gambling, which has worked alongside Indian
casinos to fight expanded gaming in Alabama, Colorado and Florida,”
said Wedge.
Specifically, Wedge mentioned, “The Reverend Tom Grey, a
member of Grey-2K and the NCALG, was flown to Alabama and put up by
a member of the Christian Coalition, the conservative religious
group headed by Ralph Reed that is involved in the Jack Abramoff
lobbying scandal. The disgraced lobbyist and GOP strategist has
pleaded guilty to swindling Indian tribes out of millions, some of
which was used to fight expanded gambling by potential rivals.”
In other words, Grey2K knows someone, who knows someone,
who knows someone who knows Jack Abramoff, whose chief asset–as for
any lobbyist–is knowing lots of people.
“We have never had anything to do with Abramoff or the tribes
we have heard he has been associated with,” responded Pacelle.
“Grey2K USA has no relationship whatsoever with Jack
Abramoff,” affirmed Grey2K president Christine Dorchak. “We have
never worked with him in any capacity. While some members of Grey2K
USA may personally have an objection to gaming,” Dorchak added,
“Grey2K USA does not. Our focus has always been on protecting
greyhounds. While we have not accepted contributions from tribal
casinos,” Dorchak said, “we have no moral objection to doing so.”
Dorchak drafted the language of an initiative called the Dog
Protection Act, currently before the Massachusetts legislature,
expected to be on the November 2006 state ballot. The Dog Protection
Act would ban greyhound racing and provide stiffer sentences for
dogfighting and assaulting police dogs.
Massachusetts secretary of state William Galvin Jr. in
December 2005 certified that Dog Protection Act backers had gathered
83,431 bona fide signatures from voters in support of the initiative,
about 18,000 more than were needed in the first step of the two-step
petitioning process.
The Massachusetts legislature now has the option of either
passing the Dog Protection Act itself, or asking the bill supporters
to gather another 15,000 signatures asking that the initiative go
before the voters.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is soon to rule on
an objection by Raynham Greyhound Park owner George Carey that as his
attorney Lee Kozol put it, “the petition [that backers signed to
bring the initiative to the legislature] contains subjects that are
not related or mutually dependent,” and “would constitute a taking
of property without providing compensation.”
Possibly anticipating more bettors from Massachusetts if the
Dog Protection Act passes, the Lakes Region Greyhound Park in
Belmont, New Hampshire, plans to reopen soon after a year-long
closure. Bought by Mississippi gambling baron Marlin Torguson, the
track is now called The Lodge at Belmont.

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