A greyhound being weighed in before racing in the early days of the Jacksonville Kennel Club

The Beginning

In the early 1930’s, the Jacksonville Kennel Club introduced greyhound racing to Northeast Florida. Initially, Jacksonville Kennel Club operated during the summer months and it was not uncommon to have thousands of patrons attend each and every performance. In the 1940’s, the ownership of Jacksonville Kennel Club acquired a license to race greyhounds in Clay County and soon after the Orange Park Kennel Club opened. In the 1970’s, St. Johns Greyhound Park, formally known as Gator Downs, was added to the racing schedule providing racing fans with year round greyhound action in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties.


As technology advanced, so did pari-mutuel wagering. In the 1990’s, the tracks began sending its signal to other pari-mutuel facilities in the state of Florida for patrons to wager. Soon thereafter, the tracks would begin receiving signals from other facilities allowing its patrons to wager on thoroughbred racing, harness racing and Jai Alai around the United States.


In 2004, St. Johns Greyhound Park, also known as ” The Best Bet”, introduced poker to the Northeast Florida area, giving patrons another form of entertainment in the Jacksonville area. The Best Bet was Florida’s largest poker room with 44 tables.

In 2008, poker was added at the Orange Park Kennel Club and in 2012, poker was introduced at Jacksonville Kennel Club’s new facility, bestbet Jacksonville. Upon its opening, bestbet Jacksonville became the largest poker room in the state of Florida and the third largest in the United States with 70 tables. Today bestbet Jacksonville operates 88 tables.