Popular Iowa Greyhound Track To Permanently End Operations
A recent decision made in Florida will result in a popular Iowa dog-racing track closing its doors for good. Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque has been open as a seasonal race track since 1985, and owners say they hope to open for one more abbreviated season in 2022. After that, they must reluctantly end operations and once they do, there's no going back, according to its longtime manager Brian Carpenter.
Dogs in Dubuque often split their time between there and Florida, allowing them to race year-round, but that state voted to pass a constitutional amendment ending greyhound racing altogether as of 2020. According to the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald "the end of greyhound racing in Florida, which was long the epicenter of the sport, disrupted the industry and resulted in a dramatic drop off in greyhound breeding."
Carpenter says details haven't been ironed out on what would be an abbreviated 2022 season, so even that might be in limbo.
For much of the last seven years, Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque has relied in part on subsidies. After a 2014 decision to allow two Iowa casinos to sever ties with the greyhound industry (Q Casino & Hotel in Dubuque and a Council Bluffs casino), over 5 million combined dollars coming from them each year will stop at the end of 2021.
The revenue generated through betting in recent years has also helped to keep Iowa Greyhound Park afloat.
Over the years, the park created hundreds of jobs and attracted millions of tourists. Carpenter says he has heard from many disappointed patrons, but as evidenced by the Florida vote, the industry it was involved with had plenty of critics too.