NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 9, 2013

Seabrook races to save dog track jobs

Park owner says bill could lead to closure

SEABROOK — The fate of 150 local jobs was debated at the Statehouse in Concord this week, as the Ways and Means Committee considered a bill that could shut the doors of Seabrook Greyhound Park forever.

New Hampshire House Bill 564 would prevent the Seabrook park from simulcasting dog races originating in any jurisdiction that doesn’t make available to the public the injury records of racing greyhounds.

According to Seabrook Greyhound Park President Karen Keeland, such a move would eliminate 85 percent of the greyhound simulcast races at the park, ultimately shutting the venue down.

On Wednesday, Keeland brought her concerns to the Board of Selectmen, outlining the impact the bill could have on the business her father founded 40 years ago.

After anti-greyhound racing advocates succeeded in prohibiting live dog racing in New Hampshire in 2010 through the passage of legislation, Keeland said the park has survived primarily by simulcasting greyhound racing from other states as well as harness and thoroughbred horse racing throughout the nation.

Although the park is also a charity poker venue, Keeland said greyhound racing simulcast is the most lucrative part of the business.

The loss of live greyhound racing at the park resulted in scores of layoffs at the park, Keeland said. Now, she has issued a letter to her remaining 150 employees, about half of whom work full-time, saying if the current bill becomes law, they will lose their jobs.

“I hated sending out the letter, but I felt our employees deserved to know what could happen to them,” Kneeland said after the selectmen’s meeting. “Some of them have worked at the park for 40 years, ever since it opened.”

Selectmen Ed Hess, Brendan Kelly and Aboul Khan traveled to Concord Thursday to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee about what the loss of that many jobs would mean to the town, the Seacoast and the state in an economy that’s struggling. Khan, one of Seabrook’s four House members, said he’ll do his best to hamper the bill’s process.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Special Features