Greyhound Racing can steal a line from Mark Twain when he said “the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”
Greyhound Racing can steal a line from Mark Twain when he said “the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” It seems that the impending demise of greyhound racing is a popular myth being propagated by hate groups that have a vested interest in promoting the story that greyhound racing is a dying sport and soon will be dead when actually the facts point to quite a different story. Recently the Palm Beach Kennel Club located in West Palm Beach Florida hosted a Saturday afternoon racing crowd of over six thousand fans and counting bets from off track locations and a growing on-line community of greyhound enthusiasts there wagered over $700,000 on a single card of racing which is indeed the highest total of the current season and approaches the all time record handles dating back to the mid 1980’s. So does that sound like Greyhound Racing is dead? I think not!
Now don’t get me wrong Greyhound Racing has indeed retreated from its height of popularity during the 1980’s when it was the seventh largest spectator sport in the United States. During the last several years many greyhound tracks have suffered from a serious decline in business, much like bowling alleys and other once popular establishments, and as a result a large number of those facilities have closed their doors. These failed tracks and many of those still operating at far less than full capacity have been guilty of a failure to adapt to a changing demographic coupled with a much more competitive marketplace and those are the main ingredients responsible for the industry’s decline.
Track management must accept the majority of the blame for the failure of Greyhound Racing to thrive considering the fact that of all of the forms of gambling that exist, Greyhound Racing offers the most honest, most exciting and potentially the most profitable game to wager on in the world today. Greyhound Racing was saddled with being managed by a historically inept group of individuals who failed to recognize trends and whose response to those trends was mostly ineffective or in many cases nonexistent. Greyhound Racing does not have a monopoly on incompetent management as they are prevalent in many other industries today including Horse Racing which is facing many of the same challenges as Greyhound Racing and is also failing to effectively implement proper business responses to them.
Another negative factor in play currently impacting greyhound racing has been a nonstop public relations campaign against both racing and the greyhound breed itself being waged by a hate group that ironically has a name that is similar to one of the biggest frauds ever seen in this country, Y2k. This Y2k hate group has found a sweet spot and is basically operating a money machine that is supported by the unsuspecting victims that fund this fraudulent scheme with their donations in the name of saving the greyhounds. The talking points of this unscrupulous bunch focus on the so called inhumane treatment of the racing greyhounds which again is ironic because as anyone with even a slight knowledge of greyhound racing is aware that the greyhounds are quite possibility the most well cared for animal in the world. Ryan Reed recently wrote a book about greyhounds and greyhound racing called BORN TO RUN and the book is written from the prospective of someone coming from the greyhound adoption side of the business. Ryan wrote “I quickly discovered that people had incredibly strong opinions about racing, but when asked how many racetracks or breeding farms they had been to the answer was almost always “None”. I was struck by the fact that a person could have such strong feelings about something he had never seen for himself.” After visiting a racetrack for the first time Ryan wrote “…they gave me full access to the racetrack and allowed me to photograph anything I wanted to. My first thought was. Incredible not only do these people have absolutely nothing to hide, they’re extremely proud of what they are doing”.
Recently this Y2k hate group has backed off the animal abuse issues as it has become more and more obvious that the facts just don’t support their story. Their latest attacks on greyhound racing are based on the declining popularity of the sport which is actually true to a great extent however the sport is far from dead and recent advances and a general acceptance in the industry that the base product needs to be refined to appeal to a younger customer base indicate that just maybe greyhound racing is on the rebound. It is quite possible that greyhound racing has yet to see its finest hour and the turnaround might be just getting underway.