I love greyhounds.
I think everyone should race one.
Ok. So not everyone is a fan of greyhound racing, including these “Page Three” girls above from the UK who are showing off their long legs and other assets in support of their long-legged counterparts, ex-racing greyhounds (some call them ‘rescued’ or ‘saved’ but here in the South we reserve the use of words such as ‘saved’ for people who turn their lives over to giving a portion of their hardworking wages to a man who likes to have sex with hookers while espousing the virtues of being virtuous, or something like that).
What was the point of this post again?
Oh yeh, poker is going to the dogs in Florida, literally, as more and more dog tracks are becoming the place to make it three bets to go on the flop as much as they are for betting quinellas and trifectas.
As Tom Zucco of the St. Petersburg Times reported recently, the greyhound racing industry, which had been tanking since 1988, is being ‘saved’ (yes, the definition above kind of works here doesn’t it, sans the virtuous crap) by the addition of card rooms that are drawing in more and more new gamblers (side note: 1988 is about the time I departed the Sunshine State, and for me as well as a number of youngsters in Florida at the time, jai alai and dogs were our first introduction to gambling, as the venues rarely checked our IDs. It was a beautiful thing for any young budding gambler).
From 1995 to 2004, paid attendance at Florida’s 18 greyhound tracks fell from 10.2-million to 2.8-million, and as Zucco states, “As fewer people gambled, the amount of taxes and fees the state collected from those bets fell from $33.7-million in 1997 to $12.7-million last year.”
Enter a legislature that got it.
First Florida allowed small-stakes poker at jai alai frontons and the tracks, but a $10 max pot made it rather silly. So two years ago, the state relaxed its rules even more and increased the bets to $2, with a maximum of three raises per round. An improvement, modest perhaps, but an improvement nonetheless.
And even better, as of last year, parimutuel venues are allowed to host poker tournaments, with payouts comparable to the Thursday weekly tourney at the Commerce.
So things are looking rather nice for our poker playing brethren one state south. And for the government as well, as the state of Florida took in $1.67-million in tax revenues last year from dog track card rooms alone. In 1997, that number was just $336,000.
The Addict and I were in Florida last week on biz and we talked to someone who had rave reviews for the dog track card room in Jacksonville in particular, which I believe is the one at St. Johns Greyhound Park. From looking at their website, it look like the tracks are getting a hang of the poker biz. The last time I was down in Florida, I called up some tracks with card rooms and even the poker room managers had a hard time answering basic spread and tourney questions. We’ll be likely heading to Jax in November so we’ll give a full report when we hit the card room there.
By the way, The Addict and I will be in East Texas two weeks from now. If anyone has thoughts on the Shreveport poker scene, please drop us a comment or e-mail.