Greyhound Racing Industry May End in West Virginia

A bill has been introduced which would put an end to the declining greyhound racing industry in West Virginia. $36.5 million would be used as a buyout for owners and breeders, with a further $600,000 going to no-kill animal shelters.

Legislation introduced last week would provide a .5 million buyout for greyhound owners and breeders in West Virginia. The bill states, “it is in the best interest of the state of West Virginia and the West Virginia greyhound racing entities to cease greyhound racing in West Virginia, and to compensate the West Virginia greyhound racing entities for their investment.”

It is hard to argue greyhound racing is a dying sport. State subsidies from 2012 accounted for $29 million of a $31 million state greyhound racing industry. Spectrum, an independent research firm who specializes in the gaming industry, concluded, “Surely, the state of West Virginia could put the casino supplements to better use for the benefit of West Virginia.”

Senator Ron Stollings, who introduced the bill with the support of some in the greyhound industry, said, “It’s an industry that’s been around awhile. This industry is down now, and they’re trying to get a graceful exit.” In addition to the industry being on a decline, they have also received severe backlash from humane groups, such as Grey2K USA and the ASPCA, who have released a joint study showing that from 2008 to 2014, over 6,000 greyhounds were injured at the state’s two racetracks alone, with over 321 fatal injuries.

The bill would funnel $12.5 million a year of racetrack Lottery profits to greyhound owners for three years. It would also grant $600,000 to no-kill animal shelters to transport, care for, and arrange adoptions for former racing greyhounds.