The legal status and difficult future of greyhound racing
Published 14 December 2018 By: Jack Anderson
Next year will be the centenary of the opening of the world’s first commercial greyhound racing track, built in Emeryville, California1. At the time, the town, wedged between Berkeley and Oakland, was a haven for gambling dens, speakeasies and brothels and thus it was thought a greyhound circuit would fit snugly.
Emeryville, where the building of its first dog track predated its first church by 40 years, would later be called the “rottenest city on the Pacific” by US Chief Justice Earl Warren. The track would however only host races for a few months in 1919 as a federal crackdown on illicit gambling and bootlegging ruined the night at the dogs for the e’villes, as the locals liked to call themselves.
But greyhound racing would soon thrive in other parts of the US, notably in Florida, which, post-Prohibition, was one of the first states to legalise gambling on the greyhounds in 1931.
Today, greyhound racing has been illegal for decades in its original state of California and last month Florida banned betting on the sport2. This means that as we approach its centenary as an industry, the sport is effectively dead in the US. And the prognosis internationally is equally grim.
Get access to this article and all of the expert analysis and commentary at LawInSport
Already a member?
Articles, webinars, conference videos and podcast transcripts
This work was written for and first published on LawInSport.com (unless otherwise stated) and the copyright is owned by LawInSport Ltd. Permission is granted to make digital or hard copies of this work (or part, or abstracts, of it) for personal use provided copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage, and provided that all copies bear this notice and full citation on the first page (which should include the URL, company name (LawInSport), article title, author name, date of the publication and date of use) of any copies made. Copyright for components of this work owned by parties other than LawInSport must be honoured.
- Tags: Animal Welfare | Australia | Gambling | Governance | Greyhound racing | Mexico | New Zealand | Regulation | United Kingdom (UK) | United States of America (USA)
- Why Africa urgently needs to commercialise its sports sector
- How to use intellectual property rights to protect a new sports format
- The transfer of minors and the need for legal certainty - Analysis of the Barcelona, Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid CAS awards
- A review of FIFA’s Code of Ethics 2018
Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne. The sports law program at Melbourne was one of the first to be established globally in the mid-1980 and continues to expand at the Melbourne Law School, which itself is ranked in the top 10 law schools globally.
Jack has published widely in the area including monographs such as The Legality of Boxing (Routledge 2007) and Modern Sports Law (Hart 2010) and edited collections such as Landmark Cases in Sports Law (Asser 2013) and EU Sports Law (Edward Elgar 2018 with R Parrish and B Garcia). He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Sports Law Journal based at the International Sports Law Centre at the Asser Institute from 2013 to 2016.
Jack is a former member of CAS (2016-2018). He became a member of the inaugural International Amateur Athletics Federation’s Disciplinary Tribunal and the International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit in 2017. In 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission. He is currently chair of the Advisory Group establishing a National Sports Tribunal for Australia