The steady decline in revenue affecting many casinos across the country has forced many gaming houses to seek other sources of income. As a result, the gambling industry has been quietly seeking a controversial betting offshoot – legalized and industry regulated dog fighting.
“Think of the images of Michael Vick and everything else that comes to mind when you mention dog fighting,” said Roger Kenny, administrator with the Nevada Gaming Commission. In a press release he stated, “If we regulate dog fighting, promote it as a sport, eventually people will come to accept it, and it will be as common as blackjack or prostitution. We’d like to change the negative perception that certain groups have put out there about the activity,” he said.
It’s going to be an uphill battle. After the Commission’s press release was made public, animal rights groups, including PETA, the ASPCA, and the World Wildlife Foundation all reacted with condemnation of the proposal.
Dog trainer and television host Cesar Millan said, “This is the most inhumane act that I can think of. Dogs are our companions and are among the most intelligent creatures on Earth. Something like this with cats, now that I could understand,” continued Millan. “Put a couple of cats in a boxing ring, maybe with little gloves and helmets – nobody’s going to give a crap, it’s just cats. But with dogs, it’s different – they’re man’s best friend. When I heard this news I wanted to rabidly tear the Commission’s collective throat out.”
Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson remarked, “From what I’ve been told, I think in foreign countries this kind of thing is already legal. I’m not sure, but if it is, we should try to get in on it here. It would be a sin to let all that revenue just go to the dogs,” he said.
The proliferation of online gambling sites is largely blamed for forcing the gambling industry to think outside the box. Although internet gambling is technically illegal, members of the powerful gaming commission are hiring lobbyists to work overtime in an effort to change that legislation as well.
“Right now it’s a crap shoot,” said Kenny. “But it’s going to be a thing, I’d bet good money on it. After all,” he added with a wink, “every dog has his day.”