Dog tracks struggle to make profit

Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 at 02:25 PM.

EBRO — There’s a reason pari-mutuel facilities across the state want to expand into more casino-like operations, as a News Herald analysis showed all 16 dog tracks in Florida lost money on their greyhound racing operations over the last three years.

Ebro Greyhound Park, the Mardi Gras Casino in South Florida and the Jefferson County Kennel Club were hit the hardest, with each losing more than $1 million in overall operations during a three-year period ending with fiscal year 2012.

A review of all 16 dog tracks in the state shows six of the 16 tracks lost money overall during those years, and all lost money strictly on dog track operations, totaling around $50 million. The ones that turned a profit offset their racing losses with card room revenues.

In the 2012 reporting period for Ebro, for instance, the card room turned a profit of $2,050,325. But it showed a loss of $2,905,154 on greyhound racing.

The tracks file audited reports with the state annually. For Ebro’s 2012 report, the accounting firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram appeared concerned, writing in its report, “Those conditions raise substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue (operations).”

But Ebro track president and general manager Stockton Hess said the facility, which is nearly 50 years old, isn’t going anywhere.

“We have adjusted our expenses. We’ve cut where we can cut. We’ve turned it around now, where the numbers are in the black,” he said.

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