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On the Economy and Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is slowly dying in the United States. Even in Florida, where political ties are about to increase when Tom Rooney-R (whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as the Palm Beach Kennel Club) becomes a Congressman (person?) thanks to the ridiculous behavior of Tim Mahoney-D, who once was in the lead.

The turbulent economy has highlighted how much more costly dog racing is compared with other, more popular forms of gambling (like the ones that don't involve exploiting sentient nonhumans), and horse racing is also being hit.

  • Wagering online is the ultimate cost-shaver, notwithstanding not wagering at all, which apparently isn't an option for some people.
  • Fuel costs affect the industry, as the dogs are trucked around the country (Violet went from North Carolina to Oregon to South Florida, and don't think she was transported by Prius).
  • Veterinarian costs must be considered (and I'm sure there's a special fee for "treatments" that are illegal–check out Dog Catcher, by Erich R. Sysak for more on that).
  • Funding of adoption groups (legislation in some states requires that the tracks give to adoption groups, and of course they give to groups that aren't vocally against racing).
  • Maintenance of the tracks.
  • Pay for judges.
  • Kenneling of the dogs.

Unfortunately for Florida dogs, it's legislation that keeps them enslaved as the real money maker, poker rooms, are only permitted at tracks that force dogs to race, for instance, 100 times per year (which often is in the form of a season, not an entire year). The poker has been tied to a dog racing requirement. This gives the breeders and trainers and owners an assurance that their industry–in Florida at least–isn't going to die anytime soon.

I'm hoping that the enormous space that is basically wasted at the tracks, in addition to all of the expenses of racing dogs, will finally take its toll on track owners who will themselves push for legislation to effectively nullify the requirement that dogs race in order to offer poker rooms.

After all, it's highly unlikely that track owners are going to sprout a conscience, but they might be forced to consider cost-saving measures. And their biggest cost (next in line after their property, of course), oddly enough, is dog racing. 

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Patty #

    "And their biggest cost (next in line after their property, of course), oddly enough, is dog racing."

    I know you meant "real estate," but let's not forget that the dogs are considered their property as well.

    October 31, 2008
  2. I see what you mean, Patty, but the track owners don't own the dogs. The real estate and its taxes and its upkeep are the biggest expense for the owners, then comes the costs involved in hosting the "performances," which in no way are offset by their cut of the profits from dog racing.

    October 31, 2008
  3. "notwithstanding not wagering at all, which apparently isn't an option for some people."

    Well, for people like my husband, who makes his income from poker, no, not wagering at all is not an option.

    The stock market is gambling. Poker is gambling. Some people make their money better on stocks, others make their money betting on cards (and people). There's really no difference. It doesn't make sense to penalize or outlaw one form of gaming (that doesn't hurt or exploit animals or children) and not outlaw another form.

    Truthfully, my husband earns money from both, as well as from book royalties, but the simple fact is, we pay the bills through gaming. It's part of our lives, our family, and it's also part of the Vegas culture. We're not giving it up.

    October 31, 2008

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