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Derby Lane plans layoffs as dog racing nears end

The club filed a notice with the state for 51 employees to be let go starting Dec. 27.
The greyhounds take off in one of several races at Derby Lane on May 20 in St. Petersburg.
The greyhounds take off in one of several races at Derby Lane on May 20 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Oct. 26, 2020

The St. Petersburg Kennel Club, which operates as Derby Lane, will begin laying off employees Dec. 27 after Florida voters in 2018 overwhelmingly approved a proposal to halt greyhound racing by the end of this year, according to a notice filed with the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

Kennel Club Chairman and President Richard Winning advised the state the layoffs would start Dec. 27 and continue through April.

“Due to passage of Amendment 13 banning greyhound racing, St. Petersburg Kennel Club, Inc. does expect that this will result in a mass layoff affecting greater than 50 employees,” Winning wrote. Winning said 51 employees will initially be let go, including nine dog handlers, 10 mutuel tellers, three members of a TV crew and an announcer. Additional layoffs will continue through the first four months of 2021, including a racing secretary, racing coordinator, paddock judge and maintenance crews.

Billed as the oldest continuously operating greyhound track in the world, the kennel club on its website says live racing will continue through Dec. 31, with simulcast wagering and poker available “for many years to come.”

Nearly 70 percent of the 7.8 million voters in the 2018 election approved a constitutional amendment that banned greyhound racing at pari-mutuels by 2021.

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