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Ontario Racing Delivers Stranded Standardbred Purse Funds

Published: July 27, 2017 1:18 pm ET

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Ontario Racing is pleased to announce that it will distribute $2.5 million in stranded Standardbred purse funds to support Standardbred purse enhancements and supplements.

Beginning in the 2017 racing season, the money will directly support Standardbred track purses, the area of racing in which most participants earn their living. This is consistent with direction from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and agreed to by Ontario Racing and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

OR will manage the requested funds from a separate trust account and will implement management, reporting and accountability mechanisms, in consultation with OLG, to ensure that funds are dispersed in alignment with OR’s objectives of industry self-determination and sustainability.

Accounting and reporting will be undertaken separately from OR accounts and OR managed Horse Improvement Program (HIP) trust accounts. The funds will also be part of OR’s annual financial audit activities. The disbursement details, audited reporting and all related information will be posted publicly on the OR website.

The funds will be distributed within a two-and-a-half-year envelope from July 2017 to March 2020. OR will determine and budget the fund availability on an annual basis and disperse the funds based upon an annual business plan approved by the OR Board of Directors.

The stranded purse account was previously held in trust and being managed by OLG. With this transfer of funds to OR, the industry association will ensure that the funds are used to fulfill their original purpose: supporting both Standardbred purses and harness horse racing participants across Ontario.


Stranded Purse Funds for the Standardbred Racing Industry:

Common Questions and Answers

Q: What is the stranded purse account?

A: Following the closure of some Standardbred racetracks, as well as some program changes, some purse monies were left undistributed and ‘stranded.’ The stranded purse account was being held in trust and managed by Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG). A MOU between OLG and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) exists to provide a framework around the use of fund resources. OR had submitted a proposal to access the funds for the benefit of racing industry participants, and an agreement to transfer a portion of the stranded purse account to Ontario Racing (OR) was concluded.

Q: Why is the $2.5 million stranded purse account being transferred to Ontario Racing (OR)?

A: Ontario Racing supports a position that the primary purpose of the stranded purse account funds is to support Standardbred purses. Utilizing the fund assets in direct support of purses where needed most, provides the benefit and support to racing participants that are currently most vulnerable to low purse levels. The industry as represented through the OR Board of Directors is in the best position to manage and disperse the account funds in support of purses.

Q: How will OR manage the stranded purse funds?

A: OR has established a separate trust account at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to hold the funds and an internal OR system of controls and accountability mechanisms are in place to manage the account. Accounting and reporting will be undertaken separately from OR accounts and OR managed HIP trust accounts. The funds will also be part of OR’s annual financial audit activities.

Q:How will OR distribute the stranded purse funds?

A: OR will manage and disperse the stranded purse account funds as follows:

  • The stranded purse funds transferred to OR will be made available to the Standardbred industry as a purse supplement or enhancement.

  • OR will determine and budget the funds available on an annual basis and disperse the funds based upon an annual business plan submitted approved by the OR Board of Directors.

  • The requested funds will be distributed within a (two-and-one-half year) period from July 1, 2017 - March 31, 2020, with exact timelines to be determined by the OR Board of Directors.

  • The allocation of stranded purse account funds must be as ‘additional’ purse enhancements to current levels and not be used to offset base purse funding levels.

Q: Can my racetrack or organization apply to use these some of these funds?

A: Yes, Ontario Racing (OR) will review any application for use of stranded purse funds to determine if the use is consistent with guidelines as approved by the OR Board of Directors.

Q: Will OR report on the distribution of the stranded purse funds in a transparent and accountable manner?

A: OR will report to OLG on all transactions and fund disbursements on an annual basis prior to transferring funds to racetracks. The trust fund will be included in OR audit protocols with separate fund reporting, and all financial information will be available to the industry. The disbursement details, audited reporting and all related information will be posted publicly on the OR website. OR will develop a reporting system from racetracks to ensure that funds are used only as a purse enhancement. These reports will be shared with OLG.

Q: Who will be held accountable for the use and management of the stranded purse funds?

A: The Ontario Racing board of directors will be accountable and responsible for the management and distribution of the stranded purse funds.

(Ontario Racing)


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