Dog tracks struggle to make profit

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

The other tracks’ financial statements support Hess. Reports for the Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track show it made $21.3 million on greyhounds, but the company says revenue sharing from the Flagler track’s slot machines are factored into that. The company says it actually is losing about $1 million a year on greyhounds.

Now all tracks are looking to the state Legislature to eliminate the race minimums — an action called “decoupling.” If that happened, Ebro would reduce performances but not eliminate them. Running the dogs is still beneficial because it draws people to the track, so they’ll spend money in the card room.

“Greyhound racing supports everything. Greyhound racing benefits every phase of the operation,” Hess said. “It brings more people to the race track.”

 

Waiting on Legislature

As it stands now, what the future holds for the track may be out of Hess’ hands, resting instead with the Legislature. Lawmakers plan to overhaul gaming in the 2014 session, and the future of slots and pari-mutuel race minimums likely will be addressed.

Hess said if the Legislature doesn’t approve slots at pari-mutuel tracks, he’ll trim back more but maintain “business as usual.” He thinks the Legislature will decouple and said it would be “criminal” if they didn’t.



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