A constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida took one step towards being decided by voters on Thursday.
The state's Constitutional Revision Commission advanced a proposal that would prohibit wagering on greyhound or other dog racing in Florida after June 30, 2021, according to a report from the News Service of Florida. The proposed amendment would allow current dog racing tracks, including Bestbet in Orange Park, to continue operating card rooms and other gambling activities where its legal.
If approved by voters, the proposal would gradually scale back the amount of days tracks are allowed to run dog races until July 2021, when the races would be banned.
The commission still must vote to put the issue on the November 2018 ballot. Sixty percent of voters would have to approve it for the constitutional amendment to go into effect.
Currently, other than Indian tribal casinos, a facility must offer some sort of pari-mutual wagering, like horse/dog racing or jai-alai, to operate any other gambling in Florida.
A push by animal rights activists to end dog racing has gained strength after a First Coast News investigation revealed more than a dozen dogs being run at the Orange Park track with traces of cocaine in their system.
The proposal is opposed by trade associations for greyhound owners and trainers.
In October, Orange Park Mayor Scott Land came out in favor of "decoupling" racing from gambling.