How States Handle Their Greyhound Legislation
The facts here can seriously confuse anyone unversed in the political double-speak and typical gambling lingo found via state legislation. We will decode it for you the best we can, and we hope you see that it breaks down to simplistic things. For instance, let's first start with live racing. As of 2011, dog racing is illegal in 38 states. That's right; a lot of states have banned the physical sport. And even in some states where it isn't illegal per the letter of the law, like Kansas and Oregon, they have still shut down all dog tracks. The issue here is that too many people were complaining about dogs being treated poorly.
You can find legalized on-location greyhound races in these states: Texas, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa and Arizona. However, if you look more closely at their specific laws, you will see that even some states—like Arizona, oddly enough—that have on-location greyhound betting have actually opted out of Internet-based gambling.
Speaking of Internet gambling, only a few states ban this. Virginia, the Carolinas, Maryland, Washington State, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Mississippi and Missouri opted out of legalized online gambling, but in every other state it is 100% legal.
Yeah, as you can see, it can be confusing. Greyhound racing is treated as two separate sports based on whether it's online or on location. And some states that ban it online allow it on-location, and vice versa, and some states don't give it much thought at all. It can be a lot to take in, but look at it this way: You can gamble on greyhound racing, even from a state where it is banned online, so long as another site accepts you. As long as you find a legal location for gambling, you can bet there. Our US state gambling guide goes into specific laws that apply to each state and also offers a list of legally licensed sites available to players from a particular state.
Reasons States Aren't Thrilled About Live Racing
In less than a ten-year period, the state of Massachusetts alone received over 800 complaints to the Humane Society about the living conditions of dogs. Reports were coming out that dogs were kept in cages for 20 hours a day, not allowed to roam around. And for decades there have been reports about rampant breeding of greyhounds leading to slower dogs that owners don't want being abused, killed, or sold off via puppy mills. While some of these reports may be exaggerated, the objective reality is that puppy mills and the like do exist, and that complaints were actually filed, followed up on, and viewed as credible by many states who acted to ban on-location racing.
There has been a dark cloud of rumors surrounding horses, too. For decades now, even showcased on nationally broadcast networks like HBO, reports have been flying out about the ill treatment of horses: Breeding too many of them, shipping them down to Mexico for food, and everyone knows about the old "glue factory" saying. However, Americans' love affair with dogs and horses aren't even similar. All dogs to go heaven, as the movie says. In a recent poll on Fox News, roughly a quarter of people polled said they would rush back into a burning building to save their pet dog, and save that dog instead of an actual person!
Domesticated, and with the moniker of man's best friend, dogs are treated by many Americans like a legitimate part of the family. Government knows what a hot-button topic this is, and so too do we. We are not comfortable getting into all of these things. It is nasty stuff to think about. However, we want to give you the most accurate picture possible on why government is so strict against on-location racing, though not on online racing.
With greyhound racing on the Internet, it falls under the "out of sight, out of mind" principle. State politicians aren't receiving scathing letters from the ASPCA or the Human Society or PETA. Parts of the industry may still need some cleaning up, but politicians are not necessarily worried about this form of betting over the 'Net.