(CN) - It's not just illegal to hold greyhound races in Colorado, after Governor Jared Polis signed a law on Friday outlawing simulcast betting on dog races being held elsewhere.
Live greyhound racing is banned in 42 states, including Colorado. The U.S. has only two active racetracks left, both are in West Virginia and owned by Delaware North, a hospitality company out of Buffalo, New York. The racetracks are largely supported by out-of-state gamblers.
Simulcast betting and online account wagering also funds international racetracks in the United Kingdom and Mexico which are not beholden to U.S. animal regulations.
"Today marks a victory for everyone in the state who cares about greyhounds, opposes dog racing, and wants to make sure that Colorado is not propping up in industry that was outlawed here long ago," said Christine Dorchak, president of GREY2K USA.
Dorchak cofounded the Massachusetts-based organization in 2001 with the goal of shutting down racetracks. Now she continues to chase remnants of the industry.
"In the old days, people had go to dog tracks and place bets on dogs," Dorchak reflected. "When simulcasting was invented, you could be at one track, and you watch the races of other tracks and bet on them all in the same day. That's the way the industry grew a bit when we thought it would have been long gone, in the face of competition for other forms of gambling and the growing awareness of the cruelty of greyhound racing."
Dorchak adopted two retired greyhound racers named Brooklyn and Gina. Born in Australia, Brooklyn was one of 532 dogs rescued from Macau, China in 2018. Brooklyn succumbed to cancer last year at the age of 13.
Twelve-year-old Gina is waiting for her human to return after commemorating the bill signing in Colorado.
The Centennial State banned live greyhound racing in 2014, but has allowed simulcast betting to continue. Portions of the proceeds funded a greyhound rescue program and the Horse Breeders' and Owners' Awards and Supplemental Purse Fund.
The bill, titled "Prohibit Wagering on Simulcast Greyhound Races," had bipartisan support in the House and state Senate, but encountered criticism from local horse breeding organizations who and claimed the loss of funds for horse races would kneecap their livelihood.
As a fix, sponsors amended the bill to keep simulcasting in effect through Oct. 1, 2024, allowing the state's horse race industry more than a year to secure alternative funding.
A portmanteau of "simultaneous" and "broadcast," simulcasting allows individuals to watch and bet on events as they are televised elsewhere.
Colorado was the fourth largest American market for greyhound racing behind Oregon, Florida and North Dakota.
The Colorado bill focuses on the businesses hosting simulcast races and account wagering while an Oregon lawpassedlast year banned gambling companies from processing online greyhound race bets from states where the sport is illegal.
Source: Courthouse News Service