Is greyhound racing actually banned in the majority of the US?

THERE is an enormous amount of what appears to be intentional misinformation and simply incorrect information from what I can see regarding the status of greyhound racing in the United States.

Since the announcement by Premier Mike Baird that his government would ban the sport in NSW as of July 1, 2017, and since he started stating information about the status of greyhound racing in the United States as one of the many planks to bolster his argument supporting the ban, I have tried to obtain as much up-to-date knowledge on the state of the sport in the US.

I can assure readers this is no easy task. There is a lot of material which has not been updated for some time, although that won’t surprise too many people who regularly surf the internet on almost any subject.

So, let me just remind readers of the specific points in the McHugh Commission report regarding greyhound racing in the United States.

Volume 1, Section 5.2 ‘Greyhound racing has also been banned in the vast majority of states in the United States…’

Is that true?

Let’s look at some published material, readily available on the web.

‘In 1960, 28 greyhound tracks were operating in seven states. By 1990, 19 states had legalized pari-mutuel wagering, and the number of racetracks had doubled to 56.

Greyhound racing never existed in Maine, Virginia or Washington; the legislation was a proactive move to prevent any attempt by the industry to expand into new territory. Nevada had a brief courtship…when the Las Vegas Downs tracks opened in Henderson in January 1981, but it closed 11 months later. North Carolina, which outlawed dog racing in the 1950s, updated its gambling laws in 1998 and banned the televised transmission (simulcasting) of dog races into the state.’ (A Primer on Animal Rights, Kim W. Stallwood, Editor, 2002 p. 22)

According to one American website, as at 2014, ‘There are currently fifteen states that operate greyhound racing tracks: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.’

In the 1990s greyhound racing reached its peak with 62 tracks operating in 19 states, according to the book Animals and the Law by Jordan Curnutt (p. 251, published in 2001). Curnutt disagrees with Stallwood only in the number of tracks at its peak: 56 for the latter compared to 62 for the former, but they both agree on the number of states (19).

The website statelaws.findlaw.com notes, ‘For various historical reasons related to religion and morality in the United States, gambling is generally considered a vice that must be regulated heavily…’

It continues, ‘…some states don’t allow gambling at all within their boundaries…’ even though ‘under federal law gambling is generally not illegal.’ So, basically, for an organisation such as Grey2K to claim 39 states have outlawed greyhound racing is, essentially, a lie.

The following is an alphabetical list of the 50 US states, and alongside each I have penned what I understand is the current situation.

Alabama: Cities of 300,000 people or more are permitted to have racing, both horse and greyhound. The state has two tracks.
Alaska: Horse racing is specifically prohibited, so greyhound racing would be likely to be on the same page.
Arizona: Daytime greyhound racing not allowed on same day as daytime horse or harness races in same county.
Arkansas: Franchised greyhound racing is legal, pari-mutuel wagering only.
California: Not officially banned; there is no specific legislation against greyhound racing.
Colorado: Banned 2014.
Connecticut: Off-track betting allowed. Wagering on out-of-state dog races allowed.
Delaware: Not specified
Florida: Pari-mutuel wagering on greyhound dog racing allowed with permit. Off-track and inter-track wagering allowed.
Georgia: Prohibited.
Hawaii: Gambling on everything in the state is banned.
Idaho: Prohibited, according to Associated Press.
Illinois: Not specified.
Indiana: Not specified.
Iowa: Greyhound racing legal. Licensees may simultaneously telecast out-of-state races within racetrack for purpose of pari-mutuel wagering.
Kansas: As with horse racing since 2008, there’s been no greyhound racing in the state.
Kentucky: Not specified.
Louisiana: Greyhound racing prohibited.
Maine: Greyhound racing and interstate simulcasts of greyhound racing has been prohibited in Maine since 1993.
Maryland: Not specified.
Massachusetts: Banned as of 2010.
Michigan: No information available.
Minnesota: Not specified.
Mississippi: Greyhound racing and off-track betting isn’t specific in the gambling act, however, there are no racetracks in the state.
Missouri: Not specified.
Montana: Live or simulcast greyhound races at licensed racetracks or simulcast facilities legal. Pari-mutuel, on-track wagering only.
Nebraska: No information.
Nevada: A bill to ban greyhound racing (which was not operational in the state at the time) passed in 1997.
New Hampshire: Licensed greyhound racing illegal as of 2011. On-track pari-mutuel wagering legal.
New Jersey: Not specified, but unlikely to be allowed.
New Mexico: Not specified.
New York: Not specified.
North Carolina: Greyhound racing prohibited since 1950s.
North Dakota: Licensed greyhound racing; race simulcasts; pari-mutuel wagering, including place, show, quinella and combination
Ohio: Not specified.
Oklahoma: No information.
Oregon: Licensed greyhound racing and pari-mutuel wagering legal. Off-track pari-mutuel wagering authorized.
Pennsylvania: Banned 2004.
Rhode Island: Licensed greyhound racing, on-track pari-mutuel wagering legal in cities of Burrillville, Lincoln, and West Greenwich.
South Carolina: No information.
South Dakota: Licensed greyhound racing. Off-track pari-mutuel wagering authorized at satellite locations more than 50 miles away from any licensed dog track.
Tennessee: Not specified.
Texas: Limit of three racetrack licenses for greyhound racing. Simulcast races and on-track pari-mutuel wagering are legal.
Utah: Prohibited.
Vermont: Prohibited, according to Associated Press.
Virginia: Greyhound racing specifically prohibited.
Washington: Wagering on greyhound races specifically prohibited, since 1996.
West Virginia: Licensed greyhound racing and pari-mutuel wagering are allowed.
Wisconsin: Licensed greyhound racing and on-track pari-mutuel wagering legal. Off-track betting prohibited. Simulcast wagering allowed.
Wyoming: Licensed dog racing and pari-mutuel wagering permitted.

So, what do we (think) we know?

Out of the 50 US states there are specific bans in place in 15 states. There are four states where the sport would probably not be allowed to operate and 15 states where there doesn’t appear to be specific legislation either way.

This leaves 16 states where greyhound racing remains legal or permissible.

So, as far as I can see the McHugh Commission statement that ‘Greyhound racing has also been banned in the vast majority of states in the United States…’ is incorrect.

The anti-racing organisation Grey2K claims greyhound racing is banned in 39 states. I challenge them to supply this website with the specific legislation banning greyhound racing from the legislatures in each of those 39 states.

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Todman
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Todman

More evidence that McHugh made it up?????

BobWhitelaw
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BobWhitelaw

Lets look at Baird and Grant with their trail of destruction here in NSW (1) Greyhound Ban& Propaganda  (2) Council Amalgamations  (3) Health Care Cuts (4) Cuts to Disabilities  (5) West Connex (6) Some Liberals Found to be Corrupt (7) ICAC Funding Cuts (8) Misuse of Public Funds ! I ask with a record like this how could anybody vote for two failures like these two ,Yes we are on the EVE DESTRUCTION HERE IN NSW  !

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Todman  I think Steve Rushton QC was really  in charge of “evidence” not McHugh he was just the figure head. Legal insiders claim Rushton (friend of a late greens politician with an anti greyhound stand who I will not name out of respect for his family) took over the commission and viewed it as “his” they just used McHugh to make it look respectable. Rushton made an opening statement he wanted the industry closed.  Bullied witnesses, selected witnesses he wanted, either anti racing or the few trainers who had already admitted to live baiting. McHugh as respected and learned that he is,… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

BobWhitelaw  and of course the most tragic of all one baby dying and another healthy beautiful little girl damaged for the rest of her life because of a failure to maintain the hospital gas lines which could only have been a result of lack of funds to public hospitals. State assets flogged off to the highest foreign bidder so that in five years the state will have no income. The end result of their greyhound ban will be thousands of dogs surrendered-  race dogs and the old ones who are currently fed by the race dog earnings. Baird and co… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

You have done a terrific research job here Duncan and I believe our John Tracey also did a very impressive historical account earlier  on how many countries have greyhound racing. Whilst John did it so much better than I could-  basically greyhound racing followed British colonialism. The fact that only a relatively small number of countries have ever had greyhound racing does not mean that it is a bad thing. What the Americans do or don’t  does not make it right or wrong. Greyhound racing is in countries that also have enough meat to supply the dogs. In many third world countries… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

BobWhitelaw  PS I forgot education in the prison system- destroyed.

FredBarton
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FredBarton

You’re grasping at straws here Mr. Stearn. By your own admission greyhound racing is legal or permissible in “16 states” That means it isn’t “legal or permissible” in 34 states. More than twice as many. That’s coming pretty close to a “vast majority” in my book. Also, your information is incorrect. Arizona banned greyhound racing earlier this year. Further, in states, like Washington, where there is no specific ban against racing itself, betting on racing is illegal. Do you really think anyone in the industry would open a track in a state like that for fun? It is effectively a… Read more »

JeffWhite4
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JeffWhite4

In the early 20th century, several states passed general anti-gambling laws which survive to this day. Any subsequent legal gambling activity in such states would require specific legislation to carve out an exception for such activity. In several states there has been no legislation specifically allowing gambling on greyhound races, and accordingly pari-mutuel wagering on greyhound races remains illegal. For example, in New York state a bill was passed in 1937 that would have made gambling on dog races legal, but the governor vetoed it. No legal dog racing has taken place in New York since then. In California,gambling on… Read more »

lone widow
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lone widow

Deborah555 BobWhitelaw Don’t forget as well as the Greyhounds the Libs have killed off Kings Cross.  No more night life for Sydney. Sydney will be a dead city.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

I see you are listening Jeff White I knew the whiff of greyhound history statistics would draw you back.

Saveourgreyhounds
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Saveourgreyhounds

To save face and prevent the horse racing industry from a welfare inquiry, he upped the prize money so they can claim 100% will be rehomed…what a load of crap…most foals never get registered so therefore they don’t exist..they don’t become a “rehomed” statistic.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

lone widow Deborah555 BobWhitelaw  except out at his friend’s casino lone widow.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Saveourgreyhounds  Yes if this is not class warfare I don’t know what is saveourgreyhounds. The leaked memo about literacy levels has certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest though and almost all comments from the telegraphs great article about some of the dog people with a great deal of education has provoked heaps of comments almost all supportive of the greyhound people and his crap policies about everything. Yes I think Baird thought he could just announce the ban and the “bogans in tracksuits who he thinks cannot string a sentence together” would just wear it and go away and the… Read more »

Mark Staines
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Mark Staines

Duncan can you please email your Article to Mike Baird’s office.

BobWhitelaw
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BobWhitelaw

What about their Chief of Staff that’s advising Baird and Grant ,Known to be (dense,dull,silly ,slow, and thick ) in short DUMB and we are paying theses Pr—s top money, why?

Roger Clark
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Roger Clark

Duncan, could email me tomorrow, 

Thanks

Roger

Deborah555
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Deborah555

BobWhitelaw  I think he might be paid to be a Pr—k and he seems pretty good at that. I love these leaked emails that one about how they were going to fob off the transition to the Alliance and the RSPCA should prove very politically embarrassing and “low levels of literacy” from a department that  sent out hundreds of emails detailing everyone’s email addresses by mistake ( breaking privacy laws ?) and telling everyone just delete them that should sort the problem. I couldn’t stop laughing. Yes they obviously live in a world of their own , although I think the real world is… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Saveourgreyhounds  Yes I have some doubts about their 100% rehoming claims. From what I have seen of thoroughbred racehorses it would be difficult to imagine them with a small child on their back at pony club which they have claimed as a rehoming idea.  Bit frisky and hard to handle I would have thought.

Harvey1234
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Harvey1234

There is 100 greyhound racing tracks in Australia, how come the only problem area is NSW. BAIRD IS THE PROBLEM.

A land grabber for his developer friends and of course the Greens.

Roll on Orange.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Harvey1234  Couldn’t agree more Baird and Grant are the problem not greyhound racing. The local council elections sent them a message and Orange will as well, even a big swing is a good enough message a win even better of course.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Baird, despite his claims he is doing the right thing and he will win again with an increased majority he must be worried.  So worried he is now throwing money to the peasants for their children with childcare rebates ( with Federal money not his money or money from the assets he has sold – funny I thought they were state owned or were he seems to think they are his personal assets that he can sell to the highest foreign bidder) I bet that hurt handing out that money – he was probably saving it for just before the next election hoping the… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
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BobWhitelaw

Grant gave the Gallops 12 Million for a weekend of racing at Randwick this was after 157 million for the Grandstand there at Randwick ,now 24million for upgrade Of Rosehill  we were never going to get that support it was easier to shut us down and one of those Pr—s promised us market share with the Tax, which at the time was  around 22% what did the Grub give us 10% the other two codes got the rest. Bring on the Orange By-Election and I’ll be there !

Deborah555
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Deborah555

BobWhitelaw  Well then they obviously have enough money to feed the greyhounds till homes can be found for them all. This is not class warfare Baird said so. It certainly looks that way to me.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

BobWhitelaw  Baird has told some-one who shall remain nameless that he doesn’t think there is a big problem looming “they will just get sent interstate” I don’t think so not the old ones, the ones that people race for the joy of it. If this is true what he is actually saying is that they can be ” tortured by this cruel industry” in another state and I will just collect the interstate betting revenue. Concerned about animal welfare- bullshit.

The sooner this fool and nasty fool at that goes the better.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

I have been told by a very reliable insider that the greyhound protests, the emails condemning the ban are working with the pollies. They are worried especially the Nationals who are worried about their seats. It has created deep divisions. Baird and his supporters thought this would go away in a few days.  We need to keep the pressure on them. I have read every article and every comment in all Australian newspapers and a number of overseas newspapers relating to this ban.  Initially there was much condemnation of the greyhound people but the mood has changed and the general… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

PS I am most certainly not suggesting that greyhound trainers have poor literacy skills I know how clever my fellow trainers are university degrees or not.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

PSS and how decent they are how much we do love our dogs.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Mr Grant has had coins made “Troy” coins and his intention is to hand them out to visiting dignitaries . Yes I can imagine them becoming treasured keepsakes for VIP’s. LOL. Yes the taxpayer is footing the bill for special coins so important people can remember him. I cannot imagine anyone important or not wanting a coin to remember Mr Grant by although I admit I am no expert in coins. Is this  an ego seriously out of control? He might have to hand them out real quick. LOL

Deborah555
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Deborah555

Mr Baird is currently defending his statement that the London greyhounds were banned saying these welfare issues are intertwined after previously claiming the dogs were removed from London because of welfare issues. That is not what the London politicians stated. They were honest they said they wanted the land. A new track has been built on cheaper land out of the city ( I presume  as compensation.) The London politicians got the land they wanted, the greyhound people got a new refurbished track outside the CBD ( less driving through the traffic would be good I would have thought) Yes everyone… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

New legislation giving stewards the powers to enter horse properties without notice not just to check on welfare but drugs as well- has some horses breeders outraged and claiming they will take the matter to court. I thought this was  a booming well regulated industry that already had all this covered. Well Baird and Adam Marshall claimed that was the situation.  Now they are hurriedly changing legislation and people are objecting. Only one jockey came to the defence of the greyhound people the rest sat back or condemned greyhound people believing that wealthy people who race their pets would be… Read more »

PaulRodgers1
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PaulRodgers1

Organizations like Grey2K in the US have a political and social goal.  To stop greyhound racing at all costs.  The fate of the dogs themselves is not relevant to them.  When organized racing end the NGA racing greyhound as a breed will cease to exist, leaving only the 200 or so AKC sub breed left, and they are an entirely different dog.  So in effect, groups like Grey2K will kill of a breed that dates back to the time of the Bible.  Great job folks.  Kill off the breed instead of working with the racing industry to maintain good conditions… Read more »

Deborah555
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Deborah555

PaulRodgers1  Whilst there are many people in rehoming and anti racing groups that are probably genuine some of the fanatics are motivated by anything other than animal welfare some of them would be equally adept at running any sort of a cult. I think in America some of the groups are actually classified as domestic terrorists.

Deborah555
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Deborah555

PaulRodgers1  PS I think Jeff White ( I can see you listening Jeff) is motivated by a love of animals but whoever organised the titty underwear opening of the PETA conference well to be honest I would prefer not to know what goes on in their head.