Question 3: Ban dog racing

Question 3 Would prohibit any dog racing or racing meeting in Massachusetts where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs. Click on the links below to learn more about the issue.

What are my voting options?

A YES vote would prohibit dog races on which betting or wagering occurs, effective Jan. 1, 2010.

A NO vote would make no change in the laws governing dog racing.

The context

This is the third attempt in recent years to ban dog racing. In 2000, the ballot question was narrowly defeated, and in 2006, the question was kept off the ballot after a legal challenge by George Carney, owner of Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park. Dog racing, legal in 10 other states, has been legal in Massachusetts since 1934. But the two dog tracks operating here have been losing patrons in recent years. At Wonderland, the amount gambled plummeted 65 percent from 2002 to 2007. At Raynham, bets were down 37 percent over that time.
PRO Proponents say the ballot question would end a sport that treats greyhounds cruelly, leaving them in cages for most of the day and causing more than 800 injuries over the past six years. The ballot question would phase out racing by 2010, giving employees of dog tracks time to find other jobs.
CONOpponents say that racing greyhounds are valued competitors that are well protected, fed, and housed and that the rate of injury is low, considering the number of races. And they say the ballot question would cut up to 1,000 jobs at two dog tracks and hurt the local and state economy by eliminating racing and tax revenue.
Notable supporters: The Humane Society, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Medical Center, and Grey2KUSA, the group that sponsored a similar but unsuccessful ballot question in 2000. Twenty-three legislators endorsed the question, as did the Massachusetts Council of Churches.
Notable opponents: George Carney, owner of Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray. Notably absent from the fight is the state's other dog track, Wonderland Park in Revere, which is trying to stay financially afloat and to attract a casino.


Dog-racing ban's success would harm city, say Revere officials

Predictions in recent years regarding the future of Wonderland Greyhound Park have not centered on if - but when - it will close if slot machines or casino games are not added to the attractions.



News coverage and talk radio

Question 3 is in the news, and you can watch the latest video and audio clips from and Boston-area broadcasters.

The 2008 ballot questions

Information on the ballot questions from the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. (PDF)