By: Melina Matthes
COUNCIL BLUFFS (KPTM) - If you've never seen a greyhound race, you might want to head to the tracks as they may not be around much longer.
That's if the Council Bluffs city council gets their wish.
In a unanimous vote last night, it passed a resolution to help close it down.
As Fox 42 News found out, having live greyhound racing is a requirement Horseshoe casino agreed to when they first opened.
Attendance at the dog tracks is down to being nearly non–existent. At Bluffs Run they seat approximately 3,000 people, but on any given night, there's only about 30 customers. "30 people wagering on live greyhound racing…it's just not the best use of a prime piece of land," city council member, Lynne Branigan said.
The state of Iowa requires Horseshoe casino to have live greyhound racing. It's part of a deal made years ago. It was the only way the state would allow Horseshoe, a land based casino, to have a gaming license. "They wouldn't be here if there wasn't a dog track," Meyer Coren said.
Coren has been going to the track for years. He said the lack of attendance is because there's no advertising or promotion of the races. "There's people that leave here and say there's a dog track here? Well, nobody tells them there's a dog track. They haven't spent a dime in advertising. I'd like to see their books as to how much advertising they actually do for the casino and how much advertising they do for the dog track. I bet you it's none to 100," Coren said.
To keep the track running, Horseshoe has to pay up to 10 million dollars a year, but now casino representatives and city officials agree they want to get rid of the dogs. "That greyhound racing has been losing quite a bit of money for a long time and they think they can make better use of that property there by redeveloping that real estate," city council member Al Ringgenberg said.
"Down here in the Mid-America Center; this is our entertainment district that we are trying to create here. We could vision a full service hotel to bring in more conventions, retail space, and even some office space," Branigan said.
"What I'd like to see is this land developed in a way that would generate higher property taxes. If they used the money they're using to subsidize the racing, they should be able to build something here that will generate more tax dollars and help the tax payers of Council Bluffs," city council member, Sharon White said.
Nationally 28 dog tracks have closed over the last few years.
On another note, the only other Iowa town that has dog racing is Dubuque and that city council has also approved a similar resolution.
In the past, there has been discussion in the Iowa legislature on closing the dog tracks, but lawmakers have rejected any proposals.
Previously there was concern over lost jobs.
Council Bluffs city officials want you to share your opinion on the matter with leaders of the Iowa house and senate.
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