The House of Delegates also passed last Saturday the amendment that prohibits greyhound racing in the State of West Virginia.
US.- The greyhound racing industry in West Virginia would be completely eliminated as the gaming reform was also approved by the House of Delegates last Saturday by 56-44. The bill ends the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund, which boosts the activity at Wheeling Island Casino and Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro. Without the State’s fund, the dog racing market would be eliminated in West Virginia.
As the project was already approved by the State Senate, it only needs Governor Jim Justice’s signature to come into force. However, the Governor’s office showed restraint about the issue justifying they have not decided whether the bill would benefit or jeopardise the State’s annual revenue. “The governor doesn’t want to hurt the dog racing industry. The governor’s budget plan protects dog racing,” revealed Grant Herring, a spokesman for Gov. Jim Justice.
Opponents to the bill, including businessmen, dog breeders, players, among other, argued that the elimination of greyhound racing would lead to major financial loss and the reduction of 1,700 job positions. West Virginia would have destined to US$13.2 million to dog breeders under current agreement.
Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, chairman of the House Finance Committee, explained that if the bill is not signed by the Governor, officials will have to choose to make financial cuts to other areas, which also provoke the opposition of groups of residents. “It was a tough decision,” commented Delegate William “Roger” Romine, R-Tyler. “I just felt rather than being a regional issue, it was a statewide budget issue. In order to get a balanced budget, I just felt I had to do what was right. For the good of the budget, it was necessary to do that.”