Gloomy update on Ontario Horse Racing - it's February
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 12:49

Ontario Horse Racing - It's a Partnership, Not A SubsidyWith just over 33 days to the next and final deadline on Racing in Ontario (#OntarioHorseRacing) it does not look as hot as the recent glimmers of hope had tried to foreshadow.

I have written on this matter numerous times on (see: How the termination of OLG Slots at Racetracks Program affects all Ontarians, and The latest on #OntarioHorseRacing (It's January)) with assorted tweets (over 218 since August 1) and facebook posts, and have been able to learn a lot about the Industry, the tertiary spin-offs and the political process.

As the countdown continues, there were two articles that have really jumped out at me that sounds the alarm bells on the recent confidence of many, and solidifys the nay-sayer views of others.

The First is the form of an "open letter" that speaks to how Premier-Designate Kathleen Wynne spoke with many in Horse Racing, and made comments on how the Government needs to "Hit the Pause Button (on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's OLG Modernization)", and now is now supporting the modernization and putting large stock in the Transition Panel Report.


The full open letter:

The Second is an appeal to government to do a full study and review, and continue with the program as in effect prior to the deadline of March 31st, 2013, until a proper solution is found.  



The full open letter: 

The "Cole's Notes" of this new information (paraphrased, highlighted, etc.) are that instead of the Slots At Racetrack Program percentages, Municipalities are going to receive less, and the slot parlours will perform less without a similar race program (10-20% stronger on race days)... relating to an additional 50 Million dollars aside from the Billions of Economic spin-off... more money being gassed for no reason.  Also, it has come to light that the "Mystery Number" as a Government Subsidy is 10 Million Dollars to approximately 13 tracks, with an undisclosed amount to Woodbine and Mohawk (Woodbine Entertainment Group).  In contrast, that's what 1 track earned from their SARP revenue in 2012.  

Woodbine laid off 25% of their workforce based on their undisclosed number (and the lay of the land of the Industry).  A lot of hope was in the Premier-Designate to right the ship in some fashion.  A lot of hope was in the Transitional Panel's recommendations (from the naysayers and the proponents) and in addition to recommending slashing the race days in half, they've slashed the revenues by... 80-90% (depending on how the SARP revenues to Industry are looked at in contrast to Transition Funding).

I think Burgess has it right... a freeze needs to happen now until it's really, really addressed.  It's not sustainable if the entire support and development system is wiped out.  Others have called this the short-term fix, but the long-term repercussions are being experienced now.

In a recent article, it was stated that the Premier-Designate hasn't opened the file.  Please do what you can to request her and her people to.  

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