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West Virginia Senate rejects bill eliminating Greyhound Breeding Fund

The West Virginia Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill to eliminate the greyhound breeding fund. -- Steven Allen Adams

CHARLESTON — A bill to eliminate the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund has been voted down.

Senate Bill 285 was rejected in a 11-23 vote with nine Republicans voting with Democrats to kill the bill.

SB 285 would have eliminated the fund by July 1. The bill would have eliminated the transfer of wagers on table games and video lottery machines to the fund and instead would have transferred that funding to the Excess Lottery Revenue Fund for distribution by the Legislature.

The bill would have affected Mardi Gras Casino in Kanawha County and Wheeling Island Casino in Ohio County by allowing them to not offer greyhound racing as a condition of having table games. Voters in Ohio and Kanawha counties approved table games at Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island in 2007, but only as long as the casinos had racing.

Additionally, the bill would have used the remaining money in the Greyhound Breeding Development Fund for the following: $3 million to retrain workers in the greyhound industries in the state; $1 million to promote adoption of greyhounds used at the two racetracks; and a one-time $500 tax credit for West Virginians who adopt a greyhound, which sunsets July 1, 2023.

According to the fiscal note for the bill submitted by the Department of Revenue, the state would have gained $17.4 million in revenue if the breeding fund is eliminated.

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