Birmingham News / Letter to the Editor
September 12, 2010
As an advocate for racing greyhounds, I’ve watched the battle over electronic bingo with concern. Alabama’s three dog tracks are all losing money on live racing. Milton McGregor’s losses on dog racing at VictoryLand have been subsidized by the casino there, until its recent closure. The other two tracks, however, have been barely hanging on, hoping for expanded gambling to prop up dog racing at their facilities.
But when VictoryLand’s casino stopped lining McGregor’s pockets, he turned to the Birmingham Racing Commission for a handout to keep the Birmingham Race Course open (“Commission OKs city race course funds,” The News, Thursday). He is worth millions of dollars, yet the county will spend $400,000 in public funds to make “improvements” to one of his two dog tracks, which is losing money hand over fist.
Additionally, despite his claims of benevolence for the people of Alabama, McGregor will stop paying a contribution of 2.5 percent of the racing handle that, in 2009, was given to help support “more than 50 public agencies and charities ranging from volunteer fire departments to schools.”
All of this adds up to more than $1 million in the next year alone — and the Racing Commission put it directly into the pockets of a very wealthy man.
The public has spoken, and the financials prove it: Alabama citizens no longer support this cruel and inhumane sport. But dog racing at the Birmingham Race Course will continue, at the cost of greyhounds’ lives.