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    Struggle for Banning the Greyhound Betting in Oregon Continues
Struggle for Banning the Greyhound Betting in Oregon Continues

Struggle for Banning the Greyhound Betting in Oregon Continues

Two years after the then-Senate President Peter Courtney believed he had put an end to greyhound racing betting in Oregon, USA, the state’s House Committee on Gambling Regulation continues to strive towards achieving that objective.

According to local reporters from Willamette Week, the Oregon Racing Commission, a relatively small state agency, oversees the majority of online wagering on horses and greyhounds in the United States, which extends to betting on numerous tracks abroad. Despite recording $6.6 billion in bets last year, the companies involved in online animal betting only contributed a few million dollars to Oregon’s state budget.

Image Source: Midjourney

The legislation passed by Courtney in 2021 left certain ambiguities unresolved regarding betting locations, which legislators and the Oregon Department of Justice have since endeavoured to clarify. On February 6, Rep. John Lively, the chair of the gambling committee, expressed a clear objective with House Bill 4051: "We are trying to resolve once and for all greyhound racing in Oregon."

In a bid to provide background information, Lively's committee released the inaugural version of a document requested by Courtney and Rep. David Gomberg: a review by the racing commission on animal safety and state revenues derived from greyhound racing.

The report names an impressive sum of $86,733,691 as the total amount wagered by bettors nationwide in 2023 on greyhounds through the Oregon Racing Commission, utilising "advance-deposit wagering," an internet gambling format introduced by Oregon in the 1990s to support horse and greyhound tracks in the state. On the other hand, the overall revenue generated by Oregon from greyhound betting in 2023, encompassing ADW betting online and a portion of bets placed at ten off-track betting establishments across the state, is $72,548.

However, operators of off-track betting venues recently emphasised the potential detrimental impact of a greyhound betting ban, with Brian Sarchi of New Portland Meadows highlighting the significance of dog racing as a social and communal activity for patrons, particularly senior citizens, beyond being solely about placing bets.

Image Source: Midjourney

There were 10,542 documented instances of canine injuries in 2023 at greyhound tracks where Oregon facilitated betting. Remarkably, only 555 of these injuries occurred within the USA, primarily in West Virginia, the sole remaining state hosting greyhound racing. Despite the widespread prohibition of the sport in numerous states, Oregon continues to support global greyhound racing. Carey Theil of Grey2K, an advocacy group striving to end dog racing, expressed dismay at the lobbying from animal betting advocates urging the preservation of Oregon's prominent role in greyhound betting. Theil highlighted the minimal financial returns to the state from this industry, which perpetuates a cruel environment resulting in over 10,000 dog injuries annually.

The ongoing legislative efforts in Oregon underscore the complexities surrounding the greyhound racing betting, prompting a critical examination of the industry's ethical and financial implications.


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