Greyhound race tracks employed almost 15,000 people and paid almost $272 million in taxes in 2006 according to an annual report released today by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA). The annual payroll of these tracks was more than $194 million and they spent nearly $357 million on goods and services.
In addition to live greyhound racing, most tracks offer simulcast wagering on greyhounds, horses, and in some cases, on jai-alai. Greyhound racing fans bet more than $660 million on simulcast horse races. Some tracks now have card rooms and slot machines. These additional gaming activities have generated millions of dollars of additional revenue for cities, counties and states.
The personnel who own and work for racing kennels and the approximately 800 greyhound-breeding farms in 31 states also contribute to local economies through taxes and their operations. It is estimated that breeding farms invest more than $150 million in land, buildings and equipment, and purchase goods and services representing $96 million each year.
“While this economic contribution to the states where we do business is substantial, our sport could not exist were it not for our greyhound athletes,” said Richard Winning, president of AGTOA. “We have a special responsibility to ensure greyhounds are well cared for from the time they are born until they retire.”
Through the American Greyhound Council (AGC), a joint effort of track operators and greyhound breeders and trainers, the industry funded a number of programs designed to care for the welfare of racing greyhounds. Since its inception, the AGC has spent more than $7 million on greyhound welfare programs. These programs include:
- Sponsoring a canine bone cancer study;
- Publishing Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound;
- Updating the International Greyhound Research Database;
- Co-sponsoring a greyhound safety and track surface maintenance symposium;
- Sponsoring veterinarian education programs;
- Maintaining a Web-based hot line to monitor disease outbreaks;
- Inspecting breeding farms to ensure greyhound welfare standards are met.
The industry contributed more than $1.4 million to support greyhound adoption activities. This included providing grants to independent adoption groups; funding and promoting on-site track-sponsored programs; providing education to greyhound pet owners; sponsoring a study to improve the adoption process; and funding an 800 number to facilitate greyhound adoption.
Track management and employees also believe in giving back to their communities. In addition to volunteering their time, these tracks contributed nearly $6.2 million to hundreds of non-profit organizations.