A House committee has advanced a bill that supporters say could be the vehicle used to ratify a deal that would end greyhound racing in Iowa. Representative Guy Vander Linden, a Republican from Oskaloosa, was one of 23 members of the House Ways and Means Committee to vote for a bill that will be altered later with the details of whatever deal is struck.
“It is the intent of the General Assembly to enact legislation relating to live dog racing requirements at parimutuel dog race tracks,” Vander Linden said. Representative Todd Pritchard, a Democrat from Charles City, says officials from the greyhound industry and the casinos in Council Bluffs and Dubuque where dogs race today have been negotiating for a couple of weeks. “It’s my understanding that the parties are close to an agreement, if not having an agreement and they’re finalizing that,” Pritchard says. “I would hope that process continues and we have an acceptable agreement.”
The casinos say they’re sinking $13 million a year into subsidizing greyhound races that few patrons bet on or watch. Legislators anticipate a deal between the greyhound industry and the two casinos that would have the casinos pay a “cessation fee” and pay into a multi-million dollar “retirement fund” for greyhound owners and breeders in Iowa.