The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved a license today for the Iowa Greyhound Association to run dog races at the track in Dubuque. It’s part of a deal approved by state lawmakers and the governor to shut down the Council Bluffs greyhound track and shift the management of dog racing in Dubuque from the casino to the IGA.
The license was granted with several conditions, which commission chair Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny says are needed because they look at the IGA as a brand new operation. “I’m pretty confident they’ll get them done, and a lot of it is just getting contracts in place, coming up with the appropriate security plans, etcetera. As we indicated here, we will hold them to the exact same standards as any other facility,” Lamberti says.
He says a big part of the transition is splitting the dogtrack operation off from the casino operation in Dubuque. “There really has to be a physical separation between those two operations. When it comes to security, when it comes to compliance, things from taking care of the money, counting the money, making sure that we have security plans in place — to give our staff and the DCI comfort — they just need to get things into place about how they are going to deal with all of that,” according the Lamberti.
He says they can’t run races until they have all the things checked off the list. “Some of it is as simple as changing access to certain areas of the facility and so forth, providing security for the actual track enclosure. And it’s just a lot of work that they have to do, and we just want to be sure that they are aware that they are going to be held to the same standards as any other operator,” Lamberti says.
The commission held a hearing on the license and Lamberti says they only had a handful of comments. He says much of the concern about the change comes from inside the industry and worry about how a smaller number of racing opportunities will be assigned. “We are going to go from two facilities operating dog tracks to one and not everybody is going to be able to race because there simply aren’t enough races, enough slots. And it’s really trying to ensure that the process for selecting the kennels, the dog owners, etcetera, is fair and transparent,” Lamberti says.
The license awarded to the IGA allows them to begin racing on April 29 of 2015. The season would run through September 27th of 2015. The greyhound track in Council Bluffs will run races through next year before it closes.