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The Future of Florida Greyhound Racing Rests in the Hands of Proposed Gambling Bills

April 14th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
To race or not to race is the question before the state legislature when it comes to Greyhounds. Greyhound advocates on both sides of the issue are keeping a close eye on House and Senate’s respective gambling bills.
Greyhound decoupling, which means allowing dog tracks to keep their card rooms without running greyhound races, has been a hot topic for almost a decade. 
With the odds favorable for the passage of a gambling bill this year, the fate of greyhound racing rests in the details.
The Senate version of the gambling bill allows  tracks to decouple
“The next couple of weeks will be very interesting and the fate of a lot of dogs are at stake,” said Carey Theil with FREY2K USA.
Pro-racing advocates say decoupling tracks would open the doors for tracks to evolve into casinos.
Jack Cory, a Lobbyist for the Florida Greyhound Association said, “I think the House has made the position, decoupling is an expansion of gambling and they are ultimately against decoupling and ultimately the expansion of gambling.”
The House version of the bill would instead keep tracks open for the next 20 years.
That prospect has anti-greyhound racing advocates on the edge of their seats.
“If greyhound decoupling does not pass we will see thousands of dogs endure lives of confinement in the years to come and we will see hundreds of dogs die for nothing,” said Theil.
Pro-racing advocates say those numbers are misleading.
“We are either adopting out or returning to the farm to live out their life, over 95% of the animals,” said Cory.
Breeders say if decoupling advocates really care about the animals they should  shift their focus.
“In the State of Florida we will kill over 250,000 shelter pets this year, 750 today alone, but these people are fixated on greyhounds only for fundraising purposes,” said Cory.
Florida is among just six states that still have operating greyhound tracks.
There are 13 operating greyhound tracks in the state of Florida.
The House and Senate will begin discussing their differences over the future of greyhound racing next week.

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