There goes ‘Swifty’: House OK’s no dog racing at dog tracksby John Kennedy | April 26th, 2011
Greyhound racetrack operators, including Palm Beach Kennel Club, could drop dog racing but still run more lucrative card rooms under a measure approved 86-31 Tuesday by the state House.
Fans of horse-racing, jai-alai and dog-racing have been dwindling for decades in Florida and across the nation. The legislation (CS/HB 1145) would lift the current state requirement that dog tracks must run greyhound racing if they’re also going to run card rooms.
Bill sponsor, Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, said, “Nothing in this bill expands gambling.”
Critics, though, didn’t see it that way.
“Maybe this is a way to fix Florida,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. “But this kind of expansion is doing nothing but feeding an addiction.”
Representatives of Palm Beach Kennel Club have said it would continue to run live races but they support lifting the racing requirement because they believe it would clean up the industry and boost track revenue drawn from simulcast racing.
Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill (CS/SB 1594), which is still awaiting full approval from that chamber.