SARASOTA (WWSB) -Dog racing officially kicks off for the season Friday, but it could be the last for kennel clubs across the state.
In November, voters passed amendment 13 which prohibits dog races in Florida.
That decision is impacting the Sarasota Kennel Club because this could be the last season for greyhound dog races.
The Director of Races, Tom Bowersaw says this is a change that took them by surprise and now they’re doing what they can to keep business thriving until live dog races come to an end.
Right now there are 12 tracks statewide including the Sarasota Kennel Club.
As dog racing season for the Sarasota Kennel Club kicks off it could be the club’s last because of amendment 13, which was passed during the midterm elections, Florida tracks will no longer be participating in gambling on commercial dog racing.
Voters said no to the races because of concerns surrounding the conditions of greyhounds that race.
This is the 74th season of live championship greyhound racing for the Sarasota Kennel Club but it could be their last even though the amendment gives kennel clubs until 2020 to end live races.
“As far as the next season goes I don’t think anything definite has been established but it’s going to be very hard to contract kennels depending on what the rest of the tracks in the state decide to do. So it all depends on if there’s availability of greyhounds and I honestly don’t think there will be, this might be our last season”, says Bowersox.
The amendment does allow poker and card rooms to stay open at kennel clubs although dog racing will not be allowed.
Bowersox tells ABC 7 his card room will stay open and they’ll simulcast races from around the country.
He also tells us even though doors will continue to stay open after live races end, this will leave about 100 employees out of a job.
He says it could also impact his role at the Sarasota Kennel Club.
This season will end in may.
Whether racing will continue through the end of 2020 for the Sarasota Kennel Club, that’s something that’s yet to be determined.