AGTOA Dogs Commission

18 June 1999
In the great spirit of the "last-but-not-least" mentality, officials of the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) urged members of Congress on Wednesday to reject the report of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), which is due to be delivered today.

The Orlando, Fla.-based association called the report "flawed, biased and without merit." AGTOA President Roy Berger, who also serves as Executive Vice President of Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, Wis., criticized it because it calls for a national policy that would prohibit casino-style gambling at pari-mutuel tracks if the expansion was solely for the purpose of improving the track's competitive position.

"Federal policy and the courts have given regulatory authority over gambling to states, not the federal government," Berger said. "If Congress were to adopt this policy, we'd see legal battles in virtually every state where gambling exists. States need the power to authorize and regulate gambling as they deem necessary for the benefit of taxpayers."

Berger noted that Iowa, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have authorized casino-style gambling at greyhound tracks, resulting in expanded tax bases and maintained or increased track employment in those states. Off-track betting, simulcasting and common pool wagering also have been authorized in some states to strengthen the greyhound racing industry.

Berger said the NGISC ignored testimony deemed inconsistent with the views of some commission members.

He also noted that the greyhound racing industry was not represented on the commission. "We had no voice in the process," he said. "That made it easy for the commission to ignore the reality that greyhound racing employs 30,000 people and has a $2.3 billion annual economic impact on the U.S. economy. Some commission members were so anti-gambling from the very start of the process that they simply dismissed any facts that contradicted their preconceived views. The whole process has been an exercise in personal bias."