Greyhound racing no longer exists in Arizona. Although fans are still able to watch live greyhound races online, the sport is no longer allowed to be played live in Arizona. There is controversy surrounding the subject, but just like the sport itself, the history of dog racing is as exciting as it comes. From its early days in Egypt to the current state of the sport, the history of greyhound racing is a fascinating subject. If you’re not sure about where greyhound racing came from, and how it was such a popular Arizona activity, then here’s a brief overview of the history of greyhound racing, and what happened to Arizona.
The Early Years
Greyhound racing can be traced right back to the ancient Egyptian civilization. It was a popular sporting event at the time, and prominent Egyptians were very proud of their beloved animals. There are even murals that are still visible in Egypt that depict greyhound races taking place as far back as 2,500 BC! However, it took some time before the sport became official. It wasn’t until the 16th Century when the Queen of England first allowed regulations to happen. That resulted in a long history of British greyhound racing, and the sport is still a regular feature of the UK sporting scene. Sites like greyhoundbetting.co.uk are a great resource for finding out more about the different tracks that greyhounds race on, and how popular the sport is.
As the sport took off in the UK, with hares being used as motivation for the dogs, the U.S. took some time to develop their own greyhound racing culture. It wasn’t until 1919 that the first greyhound racing track was built in the US. California was the spot of the first U.S. greyhound race track, where two dogs would race against each other. It wasn’t until many years later that more dogs were added to each race. This was done primarily for gambling purposes!
Arizona Greyhound Racing
Greyhound races were actually illegal for several years in the early days of the sport in the U.S. Some states were quicker to pass bills, and Arizona, alongside Florida, Oregon, and Massachusetts were all among the first states to have the first legal dog racing tracks in the country. Since those early days, the popularity of the sport has waxed and waned. That continued right up until 2016 when everything changed in Arizona.
On Saturday, June 25, 2016, the last ever greyhound race was held at the Tucson Greyhound Park. That marked the end of 72 years of dog-racing history. Gov. Doug Ducey marked the occasion by saying that “Greyhound racing has run its course in Arizona.” However, that wasn’t the end of the sport in the state. Parks that were previously dedicated to the track now have legislation in place that allows them to show greyhound racing events from around the US and the world. That way, fans can still attend busy events, albeit without the proximity of the beautiful greyhounds.
Greyhound racing traces its past back throughout the timeline of human history. It’s good to know that fans are still able to enjoy watching live events even if the laws had to be written that allowed this. For gamblers and dog-lovers alike, the thrill of the greyhound race hasn’t quite vanished in Arizona and remains just as popular as it has since ancient Egypt.