Federal bill introduced to ban greyhound racing

The bill was introduced by US Representative Tony Cardenas.
The bill was introduced by US Representative Tony Cardenas.

House Resolution 7826 would also prohibit gambling on open-field coursing.

US.- Congressional representative Tony Cardenas has introduced a new bill aiming to ban wagering on commercial greyhound races.

House Resolution 7826, also known as the Greyhound Protection Act, would fulfil its goal by amending the Wire Act which determines which acts of gambling are illegal.

It would also prohibit gambling on open-field coursing, in which hounds are measured in their ability to pursue hares.

There are currently four greyhound tracks left in the US, two of which are in West Virginia: Mardi Gras Casino and Resort and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.

Concerns have been raised over the bill’s effect on West Virginia.

A 2014 report by the West Virginia University showed the greyhound racing industry employed over 1,700 heads and brings in $413,000 in state and local taxes.

West Virginia casinos saw a 19 per cent increase in greyhound racing revenues from 2014 to 2018, according to the West Virginia Racing Commission.

US Representative, David Mckinley said: “This really isn’t a federal issue. In recent years there has been a vigorous debate in the West Virginia Legislature about the future of greyhound racing. Given the potential impact on West Virginia jobs and our local economy, that is the appropriate venue for this discussion.”

But others contend that greyhound racing is a brutal sport which should be banned under all circumstances.

Executive director of GREY2K, Carey Theil said: “According to state records, more than 9,000 greyhound injuries have been reported at Mardi Gras and Wheeling since 2008, including 3,254 dogs that suffered broken bones and 420 greyhounds that died. Greyhounds also endure lives of confinement, and some dogs are trained by being given small animals to tear apart.”

GREY2K attempted to push a bill through earlier this year which would have cut off funding to the greyhound racing industry, redirecting funds to the Excess Lottery Revenue Fund. The bill was eliminated in a 23-11 vote on 19 February this year.