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"It's A Contract, Not A Grant"

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Published: February 16, 2012 2:35 pm ET

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"This is something that is really mind-boggling to me, because to get the slots at the tracks they (the province) had to get the horsemen to agree with it because we were first in the gaming business."

Those are the words of veteran Ontario horseman Dave Wall, who has gone on the record in an article by the London Free Press regarding the Drummond Report's recommendation that the Ontario Government try to walk away from the province's overly successful slot-at-racetracks program.

Standardbred Canada is strongly encouraging all members of Ontario’s immense harness racing community to stand united and make your voice heard for the future of horse racing in the province.

Also, a rally has been planned at Queen's Park --- tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 22 --- to show support for the Ontario horse racing industry.

In addition to Wall, the LFP article also offers quotes from a 23-year-old student, Lily Postl, who is pursuing a university degree in an equine related field which will feel the aftershock if Drummond's controversial recommendation becomes reality.

"It's like a slap in the face to students who are essentially future workers in the province of Ontario," said Postl, who went on to say, "I'm going to be really disappointed because the government is taking my career (and career plans) away."

The LFP has also looked at some of the quick numbers regarding the Ontario horse-racing industry.

  • 17 -- horse racing venues in Ontario where casinos and slot machines operate, of which 15, including Western Fair, are harness racing venues;
  • $3.4 billion -- proceeds from casinos and slots at Ontario’s racetracks since 1998;
  • $71.9 million -- proceeds in fiscal year ended March 31, 1011;
  • 10% -- share of proceeds allocated to racetracks for expenses;
  • 10% -- share of proceeds allocated to “horsepeople,” available to them for race purses;
  • 2% to 5% -- share of overall proceeds to host municipalities (5% for first 450 slot machines, 2% beyond that -- 10 of 17 locations have more than 450 including Western Fair with 715. For London the effective share is about 3.5% because of complicated formula);
  • $2.6 billion -- annual value of horse racing to the Ontario economy;
  • $1.5 billion -- direct wages and salaries;
  • $10.2 million -- Western Fair’s cut of slot proceeds in last fiscal year;
  • $10.2 million -- horse racing community’s cut of slot proceeds in last fiscal year;
  • $3.9 million -- city of London cut of slot proceeds in last fiscal year.
  • $45.5 million -- total proceeds to city of London since 1999.
  • 65,000 -- estimated number of direct and indirect jobs in horse racing in Ontario;
  • 7,000 -- estimated number of jobs connected to harness racing in the London area.

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