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Report reveals low return from W.Va. dog racing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Greyhound racing in West Virginia could see a shakeup after a “breathtaking” report revealed that taxpayer-funded subsidies and injuries to animals have increased in recent years despite declines in attendance and revenue.

“The report is the most detailed, complete examination of the state’s greyhound racing policy to date and the results are shocking,” said Carey Theil, executive director of Grey2K USA, an animal rights organization.

The study, which cost about $68,000, was originally ordered last year by the Senate Finance Committee. The findings of the report, which was performed by New Jersey-based Spectrum Gaming Group, provide state lawmakers with a comprehensive understanding of the government’s subsidy to greyhound racing.

The state’s subsidy comes from payments made to the Lottery Commission from Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, both of which are video lottery operators. About 10 percent of their gross gaming revenue is paid to the Lottery Commission. The commission transfers the money to accounts held at the two greyhound racetracks and the West Virginia Racing Commission, which makes payments out of the state’s Greyhound Breeding Development Fund.

“At issue is whether that practice should continue or be modified and what would be the economic impact of ending the subsidies or modifying them,” the report explained.

The report looked at several key factors during its analysis. The amount of money that patrons wager on live races held at the state’s racetracks and at other racetracks declined 55 percent from 2004 to 2013…

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