Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Florida Greyhound Breeders Tell Lawmakers a Tall Tale

Seamus lives with a loving family in New York
In January, the Florida Greyhound Association distributed a press release which claimed that gambling on dog races is actually increasing. The missive was based on data from a single month, and titled:
"Florida's Greyhound Racing Venues See Revenue, Attendance Rise"
According to the release, dog tracks in Florida are "experiencing steady growth" and are "on an upward trend." There is only one problem with these statements: they are completely false.

According to data from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, betting at Florida dog tracks for the first eight months of the Fiscal Year is actually down by $670,731. Further, several tracks are experiencing declines that are nothing short of catastrophic. Pari-mutuel gambling at Pensacola Greyhound Track, for example, is down by 35%. Similarly, wagering at Ebro Greyhound Park is down by 11%.

In its press release, the Florida Greyhound Association also singled out tracks that it claimed are doing particularly well. The lobbying group claimed that betting is up at Derby Lane and Tampa, because "both tracks have full time racing advocates in marketing and public relations." Once again, this is proven wrong by the facts. According to state data, greyhound gambling at Derby Lane and Tampa is down by 8.9% and 7.6%, respectively. It's also important to note that there is no live racing at Tampa, which essentially operates as an off track betting parlor.

Were these simple mistakes by the Florida Greyhound Association, or an attempt to intentionally mislead lawmakers? Nearly a month before it went out, greyhound breeders were warned that the data they based their press release on was "inflated a bit." This apparently did not deter them from making these false statements, just weeks before the start of the legislative session.

Finally, the decline of dog racing is not limited to Florida. According to data that was released today by the Macau government, gambling at the Canidrome dog track is down by a staggering 23% for the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, new data from a racetrack regulator in Alabama indicates that betting on dog races at Birmingham Race Course fell by 8.7% in 2013.

All over the world, greyhound racing is dying. This is good news, and brings us closer to the day when greyhound racing will inevitably end.


  1. Those Tampa figures are for live racing at Derby Lane. Derby Lane's facility hosts both their season and the Tampa season. so, while the Tampa facility doesn't host their races at their facility, those figures are for live racing none the less.

    1. That is not entirely true. 56.8% of the Tampa handle was on simulcasting, not live racing. The remaining handle is from live races at Derby Lane.

  2. pretty nice blog, following :)