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Yesterday in La Crosse

Betting on dogs to make money in Wisconsin

Brad Williams

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In the late 1980’s, Wisconsin was easing its way into legalized gambling, after decades of opposition, even banning nationwide sweepstakes.  Bingo became legal in the 70’s, and the state lottery came along in 1988.  That year, the La Crosse city council turned down a plan for a greyhound dog racing track near Mt. La Crosse.  Onalaska’s council supported a track for its city, despite some vocal protests from the public.  The Onalaska application for a track license just missed the state deadline by a few minutes. The Dells, Kenosha, and Hudson were among the five places in Wisconsin where dog tracks were built.  The tracks lost their appeal once Indian casinos caught on, and Wisconsin went from five dog tracks to zero in the space of 20 years.  The racing gamble fizzled, doggone it.