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Greyhound racing sees uptick in viewers despite pandemic

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - Greyhound racing is making a comeback as experts report highest ratings in decades.

Brian Carpenter, General Manager of the Iowa Greyhound Park, said they have seen a dramatic increase in viewership since reopening.

He believes it is due to the lack professional sport options, like baseball and basketball. Most major sporting leagues have postponed or cancelled the rest of their seasons due to COVID-19 concerns.

"With the dog tracks and the horse tracks being closed and with no sports betting, hopefully, we'll keep going at the rate we're going," said Carpenter. "We're looking at an exciting month and hopefully, with being closed down during March and April, we will be able to catch back up to our numbers once the end of May comes.

However, there's a catch: it is illegal for Iowans to place a mobile sports bet on greyhound and horse races. Carpenter said their online bet revenue is coming from out of state.

Iowans can only place bets on greyhounds by visiting the park's kiosk. However, the park is currently closed for the general public.

Carpenter said he hopes viewers will still tune into the races once other major sports resume.

"With the past 5 years, we've been moving up little by little every year," said Carpenter. "This year was obviously a major increase. But honestly, I'll be happy if we're just a little ahead of last year."

Carpenter is unsure as to when they will be able to reopen the park to the public. However, in preparation, they have installed Plexiglas at kiosks, separated tables and seating areas, and will provide hand sanitizer for guests.

Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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