The waning popularity of greyhound racing in the United States has reportedly claimed another victim following news that eastern Arkansas’ Southland Casino Racing is to cease offering such contests from the end of 2022.
According to a Thursday report from the Memphis Business Journal newspaper, the 63-year-old venue is to reduce the number of greyhound races it hosts by 25% next year to 4,992 before cutting this number by a further 20% in 2021 to some 3,994. The ensuing year is to purportedly see the West Memphis facility hold only 2,662 such contests in advance of bringing an end to live dog racing in Arkansas as 2023 dawns.
The newspaper reported that the decision to wrap up greyhound racing in Arkansas was unanimously approved by the 16-member Arkansas Greyhound Kennel Association as part of the organization’s discussions as to whether it should be seeking to extend its soon-to-expire contract with Southland Casino Racing. But, the Marion-headquartered group purportedly opted for a phased closure citing a current national climate that has forced the shuttering of numerous other tracks.
The Memphis Business Journal reported that Southland Casino Racing will have hosted 6,656 greyhound races this year but is one of only 18 facilities that still offer such contests in the United States. This state of affairs was made even worse following the November decision by voters in Florida to pass a constitutional amendment that will ban dog racing from the first day of 2021 and consequently limit the sport to venues in Iowa, Alabama, West Virginia and Texas.
David Wolf, President and General Manager for Southland, told the newspaper that the decision to conduct a phased end to greyhound racing will provide the Arkansas Greyhound Kennel Association with ‘certainty and clarity for the future’ while additionally allowing his own facility to conclude ‘live racing via an orderly process and on our own terms.’
Wolf told the Memphis Business Journal…
“We know it’s going to take time to adopt out the greyhounds and our commitment is to make sure every greyhound that has raced at Southland Casino Racing finds its forever home.”
Some 600 miles to the north and the man behind the Iowa Greyhound Park has announced that the end of greyhound racing at Southland could lead to the closure of further such facilities. Brian Carpenter, who serves as General Manager for the Dubuque-based venue, purportedly told local television broadcaster KCRG-TV that the Florida constitutional amendment, which was passed by some 69% of the southern state’s eligible voters, as well as the diminishing number of American tracks could lead to a lack of runners as breeders exit the industry altogether.
However, Carpenter reportedly declared that his facility receives financial support from Iowa’s Diamond Jo Casino Worth and Q Casino and Hotel and is planning to continue holding greyhound races into 2022.
Carpenter reportedly told KCRG-TV…
“This will be my 36th year of greyhound racing and it will be sad to see when it goes. It was something fun and interesting to see. As of now, we are still planning on opening up next year and hopefully for the next three more years at least.”