The Investigators

Oct 8, 2013 8:20 PM by Matthew Schwartz

News 4 Tucson Investigators: Track going to the dogs?

Tucson Greyhound Park is drawing flies in the stands, and lower revenues for the State. Even with races from around the world simulcast at the dog track, a state report shows gambling at TGP at its lowest point in years.

The Arizona Department of Racing's Annual Report shows TGP's handle for live and simulcast races in fiscal year 2013 was about 12 and a half million dollars. That's almost a 22% drop from 2012, and the lowest total since at least 2001. The report comes on the heels of what some park critics call a "mysterious" letter sent last month from State Racing Department Director William Walsh to South Tucson City Manager Luis Gonzales. Walsh asked South Tucson to reconsider its 2008 law that banned injecting dogs with performance-enhancing anabolic steroids.

Gonzales told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "The city is not likely to go back and amend an ordinance that has been passed by the people."

Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik has wanted the greyhound park to close for years. He thinks the Department of Racing staff is worried about their jobs as revenues decline.

Kozachik told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "Frankly, since the last legislative session, the Department of Racing has been weaned off the general fund. And so they rely on the racing industry for their own revenue stream."

Walsh wrote in his letter to South Tucson's Gonzales that South Tucson's ban interferes with his department's power to regulate the industry. The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted Walsh to explain exactly what he meant by that, but his office did not return two phone calls or an email.

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