NITRO, W.Va. — A top official at Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro believes greyhound racing is on the way out but he doesn’t want to pull the plug on it.
Danny Adkins, vice president of Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, was a guest Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline” speaking on the $4 million cut in purse funds by the legislature for greyhound racing in the new state budget. The cut won’t eliminate racing, Adkins predicted.
“It’s unfortunate the way the money was taken in the last minutes, but, no, it won’t put them out of business,” he said.
State law currently requires casino license holders to have live racing in order to keep their casinos open. But there’s talk of separating the two businesses, which would take legislative action. According to Adkins, the current requirement makes the eventual elimination of dog racing a little more complicated.
“It’s something that has to be looked at. But to just cut them off I don’t think is the right thing. There might be a way to do it over time, to ease it out,” Adkins said. “There’s no question there’s declining interest in greyhound racing. There is no interest.”
Unless the law in changed, the casinos could be putting more money into racing, Adkins said.
“I would have no choice because the law says in order to have the casino open I must run greyhounds,” he said.
The casinos could use the property currently used for racing to help them compete with casinos in other states, Adkins said.
“We could take some of that money with the requirement that we reinvest it,” he said. “We put in an outlet mall or a retail component–something that is a nice marriage with the casino.”
Adkins reiterated several times on “Talkline” that he doesn’t want to prematurely end greyhound racing. He said it’s declining nationwide but there needs to be a proper way out.
“What we will do is sit down with our kennel operators, our dog men, and if we can work together and come up with a methodology to keep the activity going for a while or at least a while to allow them to wind down their business operations, that’s what we would look at. I just wouldn’t want to pull the plug on them,” Adkins said.