CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new proposal to “decouple” greyhound racing from two state racetrack casinos offers no buyouts to greyhound owners and breeders, but the prospect of freeing up more than $21 million of greyhound racing subsidies to help close the 2016-17 state budget deficit.
“We’re hopeful that the issue of purse funds, breeders’ funds and the general revenue fund can be decided for good at some point this session,” said John Cavacini with the West Virginia Racing Association.
The bill (SB 641) is the latest effort to eliminate state subsidies for the long-struggling greyhound industry. Last year, a study requested by the Legislature concluded that state subsidies for racing purses and breeders funds account for 95 percent of industry revenues, as attendance and live wagering at the state’s two greyhound tracks have dwindled over the years.
Unlike a bill proposed last year, that would have given greyhound owners and breeders a three-year, $36 million buyout, the new legislation simply moves the estimated $21.2 million of state Lottery funds that would go to subsidize greyhound racing in the 2016-17 budget year to the state’s general revenue fund …