Iowa’s greyhound racing park faces uncertain future
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Revenue increased last season at Iowa’s only greyhound racing operation, but the track’s future is uncertain because it depends on temporary funding from two casinos.
The total amount wagered on races at Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque was $4.6 million in 2017, about three percent higher than 2016, The Telegraph Herald reported .
The increase occurred despite poor weather conditions that caused some races to be delayed or cancelled, said Brian Carpenter, the park’s director of racing and general manager.
“I have to admit, this year (the weather) was probably the worst out of the 32 years that I have been working here,” Carpenter said. “We still came out ahead of last year, so we are very happy with that.”
But the park isn’t self-sustaining yet, Carpenter said. The park received a $5.1 million subsidy this year from Q Casino and Hotel and the Council Bluffs casino, which agreed in 2014 to give the greyhound industry $72 million over seven years.
Carpenter says park officials may shorten the racing schedule or create other deals with off-track betting facilities to help the park survive after the subsidies end in 2022.
The Iowa Greyhound Associate currently leases the park from Dubuque for $1 a year. That arrangement will expire at the end of 2019, so the park will see a sizable increase in rent, Carpenter said.
The lease agreement will allow the association to review the lease for five years at a “fair market rental rate.”
The park plans to host 96 racing sessions in 2018, the same number that was scheduled for this year.
“A lot of people didn’t think we’d ever open (in 2015), then a lot of people didn’t think we’d make it through the first year,” he said. “We are still here.”
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com