- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Officials say wagering on races at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque has increased more than 35 percent in its second year under the ownership of the Iowa Greyhound Association.

The track’s total amount wagered in 2016 was $4.52 million, up from $3.33 million in 2015. Most of this year’s wagering growth came from people at off-track facilities who bet on races at the greyhound park, according to the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/2eNgUhj ).

This year’s racing season concluded Saturday.

Formerly known as Dubuque Greyhound Park, the track had been run by Mystique Casino until the two groups were separated by state lawmakers in 2014. Mystique and another casino still financially support the track, agreeing to collectively pay the greyhound industry $72 million over the next seven years.

Racing director Brian Carpenter said this year’s growth is a sign that the track could eventually support itself.

In the association’s first year in charge of racing, officials reduced the number of performances at the park by 42 percent, and this year added three holiday races to bring the season’s total sessions to 96. Carpenter said the park will not have any scheduling changes in 2017.

Carpenter added that he thinks people’s perception of the park has changed this year.

“Last year, I think a lot of people weren’t sure were even going to open,” he said. “I think the word is getting out, in terms of our advertising and getting into more (off-track betting sites) across the country.”

Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Keith Rahe said a positive factor is the facility’s status as one of the few remaining greyhound parks.

“There definitely is a fan base that likes this kind of entertainment,” Rahe said. “With some of the changes (in the industry), there aren’t many other options for them to choose from and that brings more people here to Dubuque.”

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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