West Virginia Racing Commission Decides Greyhounds Can Exercise but No Racing Yet

Across the United States, businesses are having to decide if they will continue to offer services during the coronavirus pandemic or stop for a time in order to try and slow down the spread. In the gaming industry, most racetracks, casinos and card rooms have closed their doors due to the close proximity of patrons inside these facilities. Millions are being lost as gaming operations are forced to avoid offering services for the good of the people. In West Virginia, the state Racing Commission decided that while the greyhound racing industry is not currently operational, the greyhounds can continue to exercise at this time.

No Racing, Just Exercise

Yesterday morning, the state’s Racing Commission decided that they would compromise and allow greyhounds to exercise on the racetracks though no racing can take place. The kennel owner and casinos were able to come to an agreement on behalf of the greyhounds well-being.

The decision comes at a time when horse racing continues at the Charles Town facility three days a week. While these races are taking place, there are absolutely no fans in the grandstands watching on.

The commission approved a motion yesterday to shut down greyhound racing for a two week time frame at the Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Casino. Both venues are owned by Delaware North and were shut down when the governor of the state, Jim Justice, decided to take added precautions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Kennel owners were fine with a cease in racing but wanted to able to continue to exercise the greyhounds based on health needs. Without exercise, the greyhounds could face physical implications in the future.

Exercise is Important

The Racing Commission began discussing the idea of allowing the exercise without racing on Friday but delayed their decision until Monday. Kennel operators spoke out during the discussions that it is vital that the dogs are worked even though racing is not taking place.

Greyhounds will reportedly fight amongst themselves and be aggressive when the have a long layoff. They may also be at greater risk of injury plus can get out of shape over an extended period of time. Operators like Delaware North disagreed. A rep of the company stated they do not feel that a two-week break will be a problem.

With the new agreement, the tracks will be opened three days a week so the greyhounds can be trained. The Racing Commission stated that everyone needs to be protected at this time, including the greyhounds.

It is assumed that those onsite will be practicing social distancing. There has been a problem in many states across the US with people not taking the coronavirus seriously. While the track is open for the purpose of exercise, those on-site need to be cautious when interacting with others.

Impacted Across the Board

All areas of gaming are impacted in the US, as well as internationally. The coronavirus has caused a complete shutdown of the commercial casino industry in the nation and it appears that tribal venues may be closing soon as well. Sports leagues are not in operation, which leads to a drought in sports betting. Poker is also impacted as players cannot find card rooms or even host home games due to the possibility of catching the virus.

Hopefully, over the next few weeks, everyone will continue to stay home and the virus can be better contained. Then eventually, things will get back to normal, including the gaming industry as a whole.


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