Greyhound dog racing resumes in Iowa

Published: May. 21, 2020 at 11:24 PM CDT
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Dog races in the state of Iowa are starting back up this week after having to shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but those races look a little different.

The energetic voice of the announcer calling every play the greyhounds make as they race around the track is a sense of familiarity at the Iowa Greyhound Park, but that is about all that is normal. Fans are not allowed to watch in person.

“It’s weird not seeing people,” said General Manager Brian Carpenter. “Several of my employees and myself were standing up there, and we were watching, and we’re just like 'wow'. It’s not something that we’re used to”

Carpenter is one of the few people allowed to watch in person. All the races are being broadcast for people in other states and other countries to watch and gamble. Dog race betting isn’t covered under the Iowa sports betting law.

Carpenter said a lot had to be changed to get the races started again.

“We have several pages of things we’re trying to get done to keep the social distancing up,” he said. “How dogs are being loaded, to not passing paperwork back and forth.”

You would think that not having fans watching in person would hurt profits, but Carpenter said they’re seeing an amount people watching that they haven't seen since the '90s

“People are betting online, people are looking for entertainment and we are giving them what they want,” he said. ”They have to find someone thing do since there are no sports.”

Carpenter is already preparing for when people can once again watch in person. He has installed face shields on the betting machines.

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