It’s a tradition that’s going to the dogs.
VictoryLand greyhound park in Shorter, which also operated a hotel and casino facilities until recently, has announced that it will run its final greyhound race this weekend, track spokesperson Bill Cunningham said Tuesday.
“The only viable way to keep the live greyhound racing was to have electronic bingo,” Cunningham said. “This is a bad blow to the economic status of Macon County and Alabama.”
“At one time, we employed 2,000 employees, and now another 200 employees will lose their jobs,” Cunningham added.
Greyhound racing will be suspended as of Saturday, but there will still be Juvenile Futurity races on May 18, 21, 25 and 30, as well as simulcast pari-mutuel wagering on greyhound and thoroughbred racing every day except Tuesdays, according to a VictoryLand release.
The Juvenile Futurity races were races scheduled prior to the decision to end greyhound racing at VictoryLand, and are for young greyhounds racing to qualify for other races, Cunningham said.
The announcement of the decision to suspend greyhound racing at VictoryLand ends a nearly 27-year run at the Shorter casino that featured electronic gaming.
“It’s an economic decision based on the efforts by the former governor (Bob Riley) to close electronic gaming, even though the Native Americans still have electronic bingo machines of the same nature,” Cunningham said. “We are still making every effort to resume electronic bingo.”
Whether any greyhound will be kept on VictoryLand’s premises is something Cunningham says is unclear at this point.
“If they are, they would be kept here under a different kind of contract, but we will not be having live racing, and I don’t know of another live racing dog track that is accessible,” Cunningham said. “VictoryLand had just completed a new kennel facility off premises near the track where the greyhounds were kenneled.”
According to the Associated Press, the track missed paying its property taxes at the end of 2010, and its owner, Milton McGregor, faces trial June 6 on charges accusing him of buying votes for pro-gambling legislation that could have protected electronic bingo games.