The legal status and difficult future of greyhound racing
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.
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- Tags: Animal Welfare | Australia | Gambling | Governance | Greyhound racing | Mexico | New Zealand | Regulation | United Kingdom (UK) | United States of America (USA)
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Jack Anderson is a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne where he teaches criminal law, the law of torts and sports law.
Jack has published widely in the area of sports law and 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). 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. He is Honorary Member of the Centre for Sports Law, Sports Policy and Sports Diplomacy, University of Riejeka, Croatia and an external examiner at the University of Malaya.
An accredited workplace mediator and a Chartered Arbitrator, (CArb). Jack is an arbitrator on the international panel for Sport Resolutions UK and World Athletics’ Disciplinary Tribunal. Jack is a member of International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit and a founding member of the Asia Racing Federation’s Anti-Illegal Betting Taskforce. In Australia, Jack sits on the disciplinary tribunal of the Football Federation of Victoria and for Basketball Australia. In 2019, Jack was appointed by the Victoria government to the Board of Harness Racing Victoria. He is Vice-President of Gaelic Games Victoria.
From 2016-2019, he was a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and appeared on the list of arbitrators of the CAS Ad hoc Division for the UEFA EURO 2016 (European football championships). He was the sole CAS arbitrator at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. In 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission and was asked by the Australian government to chair the advisory committee to prepare for the establishment of a national sports tribunal. In 2020, he was appointed as a member of the National Sports Tribunal of Australia.