Oregon is one of the few remaining places in the United States where people can legally attend live greyhound races. If a new bill becomes law, though, a lot of the interest around Oregon greyhound racing could wane.
The bill would make it illegal to bet on greyhound races in OR. For an industry that’s fading on a national level, it’s another sign that the event has fallen out of public favor.
Oregon greyhound racing bill takes an important step
More than 40 states have already banned greyhound racing altogether. Oregon is one of just four where the activity is technically legal but currently not ongoing. There are no active tracks in the state.
However, some venues do offer simulcast wagering on races taking place elsewhere in the country. That activity is the target of a new bill that OR Sen. Peter Courtney sponsors. It does not repeal the language in the state code regulating greyhound racing.
Rather, it makes betting on the races illegal. SB 1504 would make it a Class A misdemeanor to place a bet on a greyhound race. The proposal would impose a heavier penalty, that of a Class C felony, for facilitating said wagering.
It’s unclear how much support this bill has in Salem. Should the bill become law as is, that could be another step toward curtailing interest in the sport – another nail in the coffin.
Greyhound racing might be passing into history
The introduction of this bill could be part of a larger cultural shift in the activity. For example, the last track in Iowa is holding its final races this spring. Southland Casino in Arkansas also plans to cease greyhound races this year.
At that point, only a couple of tracks in Alabama and West Virginia will remain. There’s doubt about how much longer that will remain the case, though. In each of the past two years, US Congress members have proposed bills to ban the races nationwide.
The closures of other tracks around the country have come amidst a change in public sentiment. Voters in Florida overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to ban the races in 2018. The sponsor of the bill in the US Congress, California Congressman Tony Cárdenas, cited the sport’s cruelty as the reason behind his plan.
Advocacy groups like Grey2kUSA have criticized greyhound racing for its treatment of dogs. Among the criticisms are unsanitary confinements, untreated injuries, and the administration of unhealthy steroids.
If wagering activity ceases in OR, that could result in further diminished interest. In a little more time, further bans on the racing or wagering on the races might be unnecessary. It might not exist much longer.