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Published: November 07, 2008 03:56 am ShareThisPrintThis
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Racetrack says ban may mean NH track will be targeted next
By Angeljean Chiaramida
Staff writer

SEABROOK - You might think the passage of a Massachusetts ballot initiative banning dog racing in 2010 would be seen as a boon and business opportunity for Seabrook's greyhound dog track.
But Seabrook's track isn't celebrating. If anything, it's bracing for fallout.
General Manager James Carney said the animal rights activists who are responsible for putting the dog racing ban question on the Massachusetts ballot are already preparing to file a bill in New Hampshire's Legislature, hoping to ban dog racing in the Granite State, too. The group tried to get a similar bill passed in the last New Hampshire legislative session and failed, he said, but those involved may feel their Massachusetts win gives them momentum this time around.
According to what Carney's been told, if anti-greyhound racing activists haven't already opened an office in Concord, N.H., they're about to do so. He said they have been politically successful in having dog racing banned in 13 states now, including Massachusetts.
The group that spearheaded the Massachusetts ballot question, The Committee to Protect Dogs, could not be immediately reached for comment. The group was supported by several well-known animal rights groups, such as Grey2K USA, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
In Massachusetts, the ballot question passed on Tuesday by a 56-44 margin.
Carney said Seabrook's live dog racing season is over for the year, and those who patronize the track are now betting on broadcast simulcast dog, Thoroughbred and harness racing.
Carney hasn't been called by colleagues at dog racing venues in Revere and Raynham who are seeking out other race tracks to race at when the dog racing ban in Massachusetts goes into effect. According to reports, both tracks plan to ask lawmakers to allow them to install slot machines, which are currently banned in the state.
Wonderland, in Revere, isn't holding live racing currently, he said, but is continuing its simulcast program, and Raynham, which is still hosting live dog races, will continue to do so until "the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tells them they can't anymore."
Carney hopes the ban on greyhound racing won't weaken the nation's breeding program, which is concentrated in Kansas and Florida, he said. Seabrook races juvenile dogs bred in Kansas, many of whom go on to race as adult dogs in Florida, he said.
According to the 2007 Annual Report of the New Hampshire Para-Mutuel Commission, live and simulcast greyhound racing wagering in the state's four racing tracks, 18,163 performances, generated almost $638,000 in state revenues last year.
This industry also believes the state and local economy benefits significantly more than that in indirect revenues generated for the state and local businesses from those who work at the track or those who patronize the tracks for recreational wagering and buy taxable items and services, like gasoline, restaurant meals or hotel rooms
 

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He's right, Seabrook is targeted and with the trend I believe it possible the NH voters will close the track there as well. Two reasons for the trend are the increasing number of people who fail to see dogs as something other than their personal pets and an increasing number of people who are voting down issues expanding the gambling industry. Coupe in MA. and others may push for Casinos but Maine, Ohio and elsewhere across the country saw voters overwhelmingly reject gambling industry support in increasing numbers this election. Even states where they need the money failed to see support for the quick bucks when they asked the voters. I was recently in a major casino and found aisle after aisle of closed tables and vacant rows of slot machines. Staff were being laid off daily and business was so slow they were sending workers home early daily. Casino developers had put millions of dollars into expansion and they are now seeing that their industry is, like the current administration, being hurt by the voters and the economic conditions.
 
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