Exclusive: The Ugly Truth Behind The OLG Bingo Expansion

Published: January 3, 2013 04:42 pm EST

Trot Magazine editor Darryl Kaplan offers his take on the truth behind the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's Modernization strategy and bingo expansion plan.

By Darryl Kaplan

The largest gaming expansion in the history of Ontario is taking place as we speak, and one of the most controversial components to it, the bingo expansion, is not being covered adequately by our major media outlets.

While debate rages over urban casinos that will likely arrive into our cities, full fledged gaming centres are set to pop up under the noses of millions of Ontarians – they are called bingo halls.

While the lack of coverage by the National Post, whose CEO is Paul Godfrey, head of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, is understandable, the other major news outlets are dropping the bingo ball. Rather than cover the story, they continue to publish taxpayer funded OLG advertorials touting the program as a “win-win" for Ontarians.

But while government advertising touts the benefits of the program, the truth is perplexing and disturbing.

In an article on mykawartha.com on July 13, 2012, Rui Brum, a spokesperson for OLG, celebrated the modernization of Delta Bingo, a hall that according to the article was “recently purchased” by major players Boardwalk Gaming and Delta Bingo. The following is a quote, from the piece: “Mr. Brum stresses one thing: The machines aren't slot machines, and there is no plan to bring slots to bingo halls.”

While the OLG has been resolute in this assertion, Trot Insider has a sneak peak at the machines that are indeed now installed and operational at Delta Bingo in Peterborough.

(To view more images of the machines, click here)

As you can see, the terminals are self contained, and have computer generated symbols that look exactly like slot machines. With names like 'Hot N Saucy' and 'Dynamite Diamonds' they sound exactly like slot machines. And with the ability to take cash and return payout receipts, they act the same as slot machines.

Mr. Brum’s perplexing assertion is one that has been made repeatedly by the OLG. Could Brum be referring to the machine’s lack of a pull-handle (something that has been fazed out on most slots)? Or some different words on the touch-screen terminals, indicating the units are not in fact slot machines? Regardless, the game of semantics being played by the OLG is a practice of deception. Calling these machines “play-on-demand” or “electronic break-open machines” does not change what they are, or what they do.

After shutting down Slots-at-Racetracks facilities in Sarnia, Windsor and Fort Erie, one might wonder why the OLG decided to purchase brand new machines rather than using existing mothballed machines. Was that done to avoid calling these machines slots?

As absurd as trying to keep the existence of these machines under wraps is, it is just the beginning of why taxpayers should be outraged.

According to Tony Bitonti, the senior manager of Media Relations for the OLG, the Lottery Corporation and the government will not receive any proceeds from the bingo hall modernization plan. All revenues from the installment will be used to cover costs. “Our share is revenue neutral,” he said. “The OLG will not make any money on this. Our role is to conduct and manage.”

So the same OLG that has spent much of the last year telling Ontarians that the $1.1 billion generated for taxpayers from the Slots-at-Racetracks program is not enough, and that 20% to the racing industry is too much, will now place thousands of machines into as many as 61 bingo halls, without one penny being returned to the taxpayer?

When Dwight Duncan and Paul Godfrey travelled down the 401 to shut down a profit-generating Windsor Raceway, the rational was clear. To "ensure Caesars Windsor remains healthy," the OLG had to act, Godfrey told the media. And the doors were shut.

So based on that reasoning, surely the OLG would keep their “revenue neutral” bingo halls away from existing gaming facilities to avoid cannibalization, right? Wrong!

Rather than avoiding locations with gaming, the OLG launched its first six bingo facilities all within 40 km of existing gaming facilities. In Windsor of all places, the gift of "modernization” was granted to Paradise Gaming Centre just 4 km from Caesars Windsor, and Breakaway Gaming Centre, which is walking distance to the casino, a measly 2 km away. The other initial locations are Delta Bingo Peterborough – 11 km from Kawartha Downs; Boardwalk Gaming Centre Barrie – 15 km from Georgian Downs; Boardwalk Gaming Centre Sudbury – 20 km from Sudbury Downs; and Treasure Chest Bingo – 40 km from 1000 Island Charity Casino.

With taxpayers ignored, the OLG continues to talk about the huge benefits to charities. It is a smokescreen of epic proportions. The OLG boasts that charities will receive an average of $59.375 million per year over the next eight years as part of the program ($475 million). Frankly, if it was about charities, they could have approached racetracks about sharing a percentage of the Slots-at-Racetracks revenues with charities. In fact, they could have mandated it begin on March 31, when the contracts ended, and guaranteed that charities would make equal or more than the bingo deal. They did not.

Instead they created a new level of government bureaucracy focused on bingo. That bureaucracy, according to the OLG, will cost the government agency $475 million over the next eight years (the same amount that they claim charities will receive over that period). The side effect is that up to 61 new facilities will get slots (sorry, “play on demand” machines), and revenues at 29 new casinos will be hammered by this new competition.

Aside from bingo operators, the greatest benefactors from the OLG's modernization strategy would be the gaming product providers and manufacturers who will reap the most from these bingo-casinos (“binginos”). The Canadian Gaming Association, a not-for-profit organization that has as its mandate “to create a better understanding of the gaming industry by bringing facts to the general public, elected officials, key decision makers and the media through education and advocacy” has openly supported the OLG's overall modernization strategy.

Perhaps though, the public should be wary of whether or not the CGA is able to truly deliver on their mandate. After all, the CGA Board of Directors consists of 13 members, seven of whom represent foreign-based producers and manufacturers of slot machines and gaming devices. The horse-racing industry, Canada’s longest-standing wagering activity, has no industry representation.

As for how the OLG plans to spend $475 million, according to a Toronto City Council staff report from May 2, 2012, the answer is as follows:

  • all the necessary hardware related to site set up, including a hardware refresh and replacement strategy;
  • software development for new games to be continuously introduced;
  • telecommunications and related maintenance required to support the centres;
  • cost of the bingo paper (previously paid by the charities);
  • IT help desk; and other operating expenses associated to maintaining and overseeing the sites.

When asked to fully explain the revenue splits, Bitonti clarified the numbers.

“The Charitable Bingo and Gaming Revitalization is based on 'net win,'” he said. Net win is the amount of revenue left after customers have been paid their winnings.

According to Bitonti, a centralized marketing fund of 7% will be set aside, from off the top. After that 7% has been accounted for, the Hall operator will get a blended 47% of the remaining net win, charities will receive 25%, the OLG will receive 25%, which is revenue neutral to cover costs, and the municipality will receive 3%. In addition, 10% of food and beverage sales will be provided to charities from the OLG’s 25% share.

Bitonti stressed that “the OLG does not own the bingo hall. It is privately owned and operated. The OLG has oversight over the games.”

As for who runs these bingo halls, you would naturally expect that the OLG would practice what they preach. After all, it has embarked on an extremely comprehensive and exhaustive request for proposal process to determine who will operate all casinos and slot facilities in the province.

For that process, the OLG retained the services of the Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, Q.C., former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, and former Integrity Commissioner of the Province of Ontario, to serve as Independent Fairness Advisor. “Ontarians can be reassured that the Modernization process will be open, fair, competitive and transparent,” said OLG CEO Rod Phillips. Strangely, Osborne was not asked to assess fairness when it comes to doling out the extremely lucrative bingo deals.

So, OLG, how were those agreements awarded?

“They have to be willing to be a part of this,” said Bitonti, of the bingo operators. “We’re going into existing facilities. We’re not setting up brand new facilities. The charities have to be on side, the municipalities and the bingo halls.”

So apparently, “willing” to accept 47% of net win, or an estimated $893 million over the next eight years, does not require a former integrity commissioner, or much of anything. If you have a bingo hall, or buy into one, and everyone agrees, you’re good to go.

With the OLG spending their share of the gaming revenue on expenses, Bitonti was asked to explain what the bingo hall operator pays from their 47% share. “The operator who owns or leases the building in which the hall is located, pays for day-to-day operations --- staff, lease, or taxes, supplies, food and beverage, hydro, facility upgrades, marketing, etc.,” he said.

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s very similar to what the racetracks were in charge of in the Slots-at-Racetracks program. Yes, it is unclear how much of the operational and staffing costs will be picked up by the bingo halls, but likely some of that can be absorbed through current operations and much of it will be picked up by the OLG.

Of the six facilities that are part of the OLG’s modernization launch, two are owned by Boardwalk Gaming, and a third, according to mykawartha.com, is partially owned by Boardwalk, a company owned by Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum.

Tanenbaum, a Toronto-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, served as National Revenue Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada during Prime Minister Paul Martin’s term of office. According to a March, 2003 University of Toronto paper titled, “The ties that bind: Ted Rogers, Larry Tanenbaum and the Toronto Sport Elite”, written by Russell Field, Tanenbaum has also held longstanding working relationships with Godfrey and Dale Lastman. Lastman was appointed to the OLG Board of Directors in February, 2010 and served until February, 2012.

Boardwalk Gaming is a major player in Ontario’s bingo landscape. According to their website, “Boardwalk Gaming is Canada's leading Bingo Centre operator, delivering outstanding bingo products and entertainment value. The company owns and operates six bingo gaming facilities across Ontario.” The site also states, “Over the next 12 months, Boardwalk looks to make further investments at select locations. It is part of Boardwalk’s continuing commitment to greater customer enjoyment and comfort.”

So, why is the media not covering this story? It may be that they are simply not aware. Although that seems unlikely, as the OLG continues to take this issue to council meetings across the province, and has openly promoted these “bingino” facilities. It may be that there is a misconception among the media that the electronic bingo conversion is simply the introduction of a digital method of playing bingo. Perhaps, if the mainstream media realized that these “binginos” were popping up everywhere with no revenue to the province, they would react?

Another possible explanation is that the OLG is a major advertiser for thousands of media outlets across Ontario. Through the promotion of lottery games, Pro-Line products, charitable gaming and Slots-at-Racetracks, they are significant contributors to struggling media agencies. It is also possible that because Larry Tanenbaum is tied in various business dealings with Bell Media and Rogers Media that much of the province’s media outlets either are owned by these groups, or rely heavily on advertising revenues derived from them, so they’d rather not enter into the fray.

Regardless of the reasons, as mini-casinos open up in bingo halls across Ontario, without any revenue going to government coffers, the people of this province are being left in the dark. While the Liberal government and OLG officials spin this as a benefit to charities, they are hiding a litany of puzzling decisions, many of which may have extremely damaging consequences for the people of Ontario.

It is time to shed light on this mess, and reverse course immediately. Despite what the advertorials say, it can be done without one charity losing a nickel. Spread the word, because it seems if you don’t, nobody will.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Darryl Kaplan)



I surely hope that Mr. Morrissey's contact at the Sun News and they indeed do an indept story for us and expose the injustice done to the thousands of people who have invested their lives in the Horse Industry just so a greedy few can line their pockets with more gold. I am sure that if we cah get the necessary coverage Sun News TV Network it will help our cause.

Wayne is right. We horsepeople have been far too complacent for too long. In March of 2012, OHRIA was appointed the "spokesperson" for the industry and we were told to let them do the negotiating as a single voice. Apparently, the government would only listen to one voice. The Liberals began to dictate the terms of the battle right from the start. At that point, the entire industry and those businesses and services that prosper from horse racing should have been called upon to fight back. Purina, Masterfeeds, GM, Ford, Chrysler, all horse trainler dealers and manufacturers, Ontario vets and farriers----you get the picture----nyone who takes a dime out of this industry should have been called upon to stand with us at rallies, write letters, call their MPPs. But we needed to do much more. The first rally that I attended at Queen's Park included a few trucks and trailers. There should have been thousands. We were told that we couldn't afford to upset the general public by blocking traffic. I suggested right from the start that we tell the truth about what was going to happen to thousands of our horses (starting with the newborn foals) but was told that it would make us out to be a heartless industry and would turn the public off. So far, we haven't made much of an impact on the Ontario public by playing nice. Most haven't a clue as to the corruption and conniving that has and is going on and don't understand that this is going to hit all Ontario taxpayers eventually because the truth has been hidden by the Liberals and the OLG. The worst part of it all is that we have sat back and waited for someone to save us. We want the media to sell our story to the public but we haven't given them anything interesting to sell. If we are serious about saving harness racing, we had better use what time we have left to make the politicians, the OLG, the businesses that will be hurt and most importantly, the voters know that we intend to stay. It's time for all horsepeople in Ontario (and across the border if we can get them to join us) to get serious about fighting back on the streets rather than at the table!

In reply to by Lynne Magee

Take a look at the picture of the video lottery terminal (VLT)from this article.

These are slot machines without the arm to pull.

It is illegal to play slot machines in Ontario if you are under the age of 19.

The addition of these machines to the Bingo Halls means the government is marketing slot machines to 18 year olds!!! Is this the OLGs modernization master plan to increase the existing revenue base? Let's market to high school graduates? Maybe the OLG can get at that OSAP money before the high school graduates can start their college future.

These are grounds for a law suit against the OLG and the provincial government.
The courts would not look kindly on this unless their political affiliations oblige them to look the other way.

If I had the financial resources to initiate this lawsuit against the OLG I would.

The clock is ticking, time to give some money back to save our industry.
Make the OLG/Liberals accountable for all of the lies they have sold us for the past year. Only the legal system can now stop or slow down the OLG privatization process.

Mr Chuck Ibey: I am going to take you at your word and assume you mean what you wrote. I got out of Harness Racing years ago as today's situation was predictable. So why don't you mimic what First nations Chief Spence is doing(The Hunger Strike To The Death). The First Nations have already won on that one as I predicted(wrote)see below. Now the question is what kind of support will you get from the Harness Racing Community?

Couldn't this possibly be attacked as an insider trading issue? The corruption must stop!

I agree with Augustus, the Sun News seems to me to be a logical choice for us as they are not funded by government as the CBC is and I think if the Sun would grant us some coverage, I believe that the OHHA and Brian Tropea is very well versed in the actions this government has taken against us and along with OBOA and maybe Mr Burgess could join with His input. If the Sun News wasted 3 Hours of Air time on that loaded Liberal Lesdership debate in Ajax, then surely we deserve equal TIME!!!

If you want to quit fighting do so. The Liberals and OLG are counting on it. Let's face it othere than 3-4 rallies, some of which terribly attended, we have failed to really get noticed.
There will in all likelyhood a casino at Woodbine and as I stated earlier dont be surprised if there isnt one at the ACC or Rogers Center. After all Godfrey will continue to look after his buddies involved in those enterprises. Perfect they can promote their Casino on their Cable Channels/phones etc. Wait they can launch their on-line gambling right there. Some may think I'm foolish with these thoughts, but then again probably thought the same when last spring I started with my rants of VLT,s in Bingo Halls.
So what do we do next: 1. You sure as hell don't vote Liberal and where is Andrea, so NDP probably not the right option either. So that leaves the PCs as the only viable option for our industry. 2. If we want the attention of the OLG/Gov't, then start by picketing the driveways to slots and Bingo Halls; not the doorway entrances. 3. Forget about the Transition Panel saving the Standardbred industry. Other than looking after the Thoroughbreds and some Premier tracks with dates reduced; the Standardbreds are taking the hit.
There will be no major influx of casinos being built; the reason is simple; they won't want to compete with all of the slots/vlts at bingo halls. That is where the only real money in casinos is; with the slots. There are 61 bingo halls right now and more will pop up soon.
OLG is signing contracts with municipalities and tracks while the horseracing industry sits back and asks "what do we get"? The answer is nothing unless there is a change in govt and this industry gets busy to fight back!
My humble advice is for OHHA to get busy and start to organize demonstrations and pickets, with press coverage at the locations I stated above. Someone else and I think it was Jamie Higgs suggested picketing the Liberal leadership convention.....great idea, as press will surely be there! Oh and by the way did I state that the Leadership convention is at the ACC? Ask yourself of the relevance of that!
So as Diane Lord stated either quit talking and quit or fight for your livelihhods by hitting them now at the slots! It will get their attention! If you think this is beneath you or you cant be bothered well accept your fate.....Liberals are counting on it!

This is just my humble opinion for what it's worth
Chuck Ibey

As a resident of Ontario I am disgusted with the facts as mentioned by Darryl Kaplan.
Thank you Darryl for bringing this out.
The question is what happens next OR is it too late?

Thanks Darryl for a well written articulate article regarding the bingo halls and gambling in Ontario as well Thank you Ian for leaving the industry.

I don't think it's fair to condemn horsemen for trying to get this story out to the mainstream media. This crisis is a war of many battles. First with the government, second with the public and their perception of the industry, and third among industry stakeholders. Anyone who believes that the Liberal government did not have this entire war well planned out ahead of time and executed with precision is fooling themselves. They played the industry weaknesses perfectly. It is important that horse people support each other and each of us will fight this battle in the way we are able. Time and energy spent battling ourselves is a waste of effort that could be spent getting the truth out to the voting public.

I got out many years ago... mercifully.
It's a fixed race.
You are no longer needed, or wanted.
Get out NOW... Run-as fast as you can-no change of government will make a difference. It's over, like it was before the slots. Take a bridge, but you may have to run over some Natives to do it. RIP

i want to tell my story...of how solid horse people are...unlike godfrey...and the liberal government.i have been dealing with deprrsion all of my adult life.about 8 years ago i met the couple i work for ,between my bouts of fighting this crap, these people have always stood behind me.....picked me up ..got me going again....have been nothing but careing....iwas standing at the farm today looking at the horses and all that we have done together[my boss and myself] and was done my work.....got in my car.....started driving home...started shaking..crying...pulled over....who did i call?the man i work for..ahorseman

WOW! Unbelievable!!! Does the United Nations know about this? They should! What about the Pope? We should send a copy of this story to the Pope, maybe he can help the horse racing industry. What about CNN news? Someone should send a copy to Wolf Blitzer of CNN. Who else should we send a copy to? Lets see,....OH! the RCMP? Na! The CIA would do a better job. Lets send a copy to the CIA. I guess that's about it. A bit of sarcasm my horse friends. Sadly, it breaks my heart to see that nothing, but talk, is being done. I guess everyone is waiting for March 31st to arrive. Some care,some don't care at all. People around the world are fighting for their survival against brutal regimes etc. Demonstrating everyday on the streets etc. Standing up for what they truly believe in, no matter what their cause is, they are demonstrating, And yet, the horse people of Ontario, day in and out, are ONLY, expressing their opinion and feelings on the SC website. What a sad Joke!!!!

I also e-mailed this story to Norman Debono of the London Free Press yesterday. As of yet I have not heard a comment from him other than he has a story published in todays London Free Press.

In reply to by dnew62

Oh my, it appears that the government and the OLG have been deceiving the public.
What a shock.

They couldn't have pulled this off without their many partners in crime, the Liberal government who is selling the Ontario tax-payers most profitable corporation the OLG to their Liberal private sector partners.
The major provincial newspapers who accept the advertising dollars (more tax-payer money)received from the OLG to promote this modernization (privatization) plan.
Andrea Horwath who has no opinion and has disappeared because the thought of actually leading this province scares her to death. She wants to influence provincial legislation without the burden of accountability. So she will continue to "work with the Liberals". This means she will vote with them and con her party into believing that she is doing whats best for Ontario. NDP Ontario, wake up and cut Horwath loose. You need a leader who wants to be Premier of Ontario and represent the NDP platform, not a pretender who just wants a participation ribbon.
Tim Hudak is running around spouting his Tea Party agenda. (Quick question....who in Ontario really doesn't have convenient access to purchasing alcohol?)
Also, the McGuinty Liberals said they were proroguing the provincial government
so they could negotiate with the teachers without the distraction of public scrutiny. They didn't negotiate, so what was their real motive.

The Liberal/OLG motives are crystal clear.
Fire sale off the casino assets to Liberal business cronies. Dump the wages and pensions etc. of OLG slot/casino employees. If it was about increased profits, why would the OLG incompetents retain decision-making control over the private sector management? It is an employee dump, plain and simple.
Fulfill Paul Godfrey's American dream of a Toronto mega-casino entertainment complex erasing his legacy of the Skydome theft to tax-payer wallets.
Take the profits from racetrack slots and transplant them to his Bingo partners. The cost to rural horsemen and their families is only collateral damage.
McGuinty shuts down the government so they can continue the privatization plan without legislative scrutiny. (real motive for proroguing government)

I will leave my horse-racing family with one last question.
The machines being installed into the Bingo parlours are addictive slot machines or VLTs. The OLG can label them something else (Banana Trees, electronic square boxes, whatever) THEY'RE SLOT MACHINES!!!

The legal age for entering or playing at the BINGO parlours is 18.
The legal age for entering or playing at the casinos/Slots is 19.
Who is allowing 18 year olds to play slot machines at the Bingo parlours?
Where is big brother when it comes to protecting our youth and the future of our province.
The next couple of generations will be inheriting the McLiberal destruction of Ontario and the Americanization of a once proud province.

In reply to by RJ

Excellent comments and very informative.
The Provincial Liberals and their silent partners have let us down and robbed a piece of our identity.
Thank you.

This clearly stinks of corroption. The RCMP should be involved!

Absolutly we need to picket the Bingo Parlors get the media there have someone there that is a good speaker and knows the facts (Darryl Kaplan). We need to have every horseman and woman and groom there we need big #s no sitting back thinking about it just do it. Caroyln Rae can organize hit all the Bingo Parlors at the same time have all media there and make the noise we should of made make in March. We can really make some noise.Let me know when and where and I will be there.Ronda Markle

Just an Idea. A volunteer is needed at every active track for the couple of weeks. That person would go to all the trainers to let them know that a rally is planed for January 26th at the Liberal Leadership Convention. No racing on that day thinking about the big picture. It will be the Trainers responsibility to contact everyone and I mean everyone that benefits from their operations.They need to contact everyone that benefits to attend the rally with their families and I strongly believe the numbers will be astronomical. It would be one day of their lives that could effect the rest of their lives. Every Horsemen bring one Truck and Trailer and maybe we can congest some of downtown Toronto outside Maple Leaf Gardens to create a little buzz. If we get the numbers we get the press! We will blitz them at the best time and I think the Convention would be that time to get our voices heard by the tax payers of Ontario. Again just an Idea.

Great article Darryl. Who said there is no corruption in this gov't. I can't believe that there are some in our industry who would even court the Liberal Party. Who in their right mind would throw away $1.1 billion each year in profits with the SAR program in favour of 25% of NET profits from bingos. It's time to bring in the RCMP fraud squad to fully investigate this fiasco and get it aired on W5. The people of Ontario have a right to know that they are getting taken by this Gov't.

Well i emailed this story to a prominant reporter from the lfpress, sun media last night who i know on some what of a personal level and he got back to me,today by phone and he really had no idea of what was going on and seemed real interested in this story and he has promised to look deaper and get back to me by monday about running a story on this, but everyone has to get together and do somthing to rally everyone together and real soon and he will bring a camara crew out and get this out there for everyone to hear what is really going on here im not sure what we do weather its block the slots with are trucks and trailors or we block local bingo halls but i know one thing is if hes willing to do this and runn the story we should be willing to get something organized and real soon with election looming this could become a real national story and fast and they couldnt ignore the questions anymore. So im not sure what we do or who is the voice for the ralley but lets get some ideas out here and lets make some noise enough sittn are azzes doing nothing

Great article, spot on. Where are all the big name owners and drivers (other than Jamieson and MacDonald) and trainers who should be giving out their side of the story. Very quiet for a lot of people that something will effect there livelihood.

Wonderful piece of work. Now - CAN WE GET THIS OUT TO THE UNCONVERTED?? PLEASE!!

Thank you Darryl, for doing an excellent and well researched article. I have been harping on this issue since last spring when the Liberals changed Gaming Regulations to allow for video gaming in bingo halls. This is why the Liberals didn't care about losing slot revenue as they were about to launch VLT-like machines in the bingo parlors(presently 61). The casinos, I believe were and are only a small part of the gaming expansion, with the Bingo halls being the sleeper.
If I recall correctly the reason to remove the slots from Fort Erie and Windsor was to supposedly improve the profitability of Caesars' Windsor and Niagara casinos. Obviously this is bull, when you see where these Bingo halls with their VLT type machines are located.
It appears that it is time for the industry to take a different tact and start by picketing the vehicle entrances of racetracks and bingo halls.
By the way don't be surprised if the site of the downtown Toronto Casino is the Air Canada Centre.

Chuck Ibey

Why don't we ask the Liberal candidates who want to be premier to comment on this story. 5 of them will. Pupatello and Takhar wont.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

Excellent article, Darryl. It is also comes at a good time, since the Ontario Liberal leadership campaign is in high gear. Some members of the mainstream media such as Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star have been trying to bring this ugly bingo hall mess to the attention of the Ontario public for some time and I know that my brother, Bob, has been trying to do the same. I have sent the article to my local Liberal MPP,Jeff Leal, as well as to Gerard Kennedy & Eric Hoskins, the two Liberal leadership candidates that I believe are the most likely to reverse the original draconian decision and take immediate action to protect the interests of rural Ontario and the horse racing industry.

Dick Burgess

Roll up your sleeves, got out on the streets of downtown Toronto and demonstrate
every night, cause traffic jams etc. The students in Quebec did it all together, but I see no one doing it in Ontario.

Honestly, the problem I find is most people (non-racing fans, that is)I talk to have an apathetic reaction to the topic. It just doesn't resonate to them as a major issue. Taking out a full page ad with facts and figures will do little to get their attention. You need to pull their heartstrings to get their collective attention.

Show them what will happen if we stay the current course. Show them the repercussions of thousands of jobs lost and potentially thousand of horses destroyed.

Create a short viral video that outlines this, along with a visual presence of demonstrators outside Queens Park and maybe then we have a chance to get the attention of the people we need on our side.....average Joe & Jane Public.

The problem is simple. The solution is simple also.There is only one thing missing here. EXECUTION OF THE SOLUTION. The problem is that racing and those associated with racing are fighting this battle on their own and that's not enough. Racing needs the people behind it.Let's not forget the power belongs to the people, NOT THE POLITICIANS.If you are like me, a fan of racing ofr over 35 years,or even if you are not a fan of racing but smart enough to see the injustice being done here by a government who is clearly biased and not governing in the best interests of the taxpayer then I challenge you to do something about it TODAY. If enough people will support this cause the government will have no choice but to listen. But you need to make yourself heard and time is running out.Let every politician know that you will hold them accountable at the voting booth either by their action or inaction where this is concerned. Let them know you are serious and will not soon forget. Believe me id hundreds of thousands do this then you will see the turnaround.

Talk, Talk, Talk,....I have to agree with Wayne Robinski. You people in the horse racing industry of Ontario, have done nothing at all in the past 2 years. Under the Canadian charter, you have the right to demonstrate, have you? the answer is NO! Talk, Talk, Talk,...

In reply to by diane355

Diane and Wayne are right---we have now "talked" politely for more than ten months. Do we really want to save horse racing in Ontario or are we more resigned to just discussing the situation so as to not offend any of the wealthy big shots that are killing it?

Finally-the truth about this whole fiasco! Darryl and I spoke--rather emotionally-- about this several months asked and I asked why the bingo hall situation, Larry Tanenbaum and his connections to the OLG (particularly Paul Godfrey), big business and the Liberal Party was a virtual non-issue. Was all the uproar over the casinos more of a smokescreen to get these bingo halls up and running while the municipal governments and the media focused on the pros and cons of adding casinos across the province? How clever!

If you haven't done so already, please call or write our ombudsman and voice your concerns about this and, more specifically, the obvious collaboration/collusion between those involved. Send a copy of Darryl's comments along with your own to get his attention. When I spoke to them about this aspect of what the OLG was planning back in the spring, they said they needed more information to consider an investigation but were quite interested. With the media controlled in any way by Mr. Tanenbaum (Bell and Rogers) and Mr. Godfrey (the National Post), we need to take other forms of action to save our racing lives! Christine Blizzard (The Sun), Dave Perkins (The Star)and others have been very critical of the OLG and the Liberals' plans to dismantle horse racing as we know it. Post Darryl's comments wherever you can to spread the message. And get MAD! It's well past the time to get all horsepeople and connected industries (goods and services suppliers) and tax payers (VOTERS)serious about fighting back. Thank you Darryl, for posting this very ugly truth about the corruption that is playing out right under our noses. This is about more than just horse racing!

Brilliant piece Darryl, you must be applauded for the research and detail put into the story. I have believed for sometime that the SAR 10% was doomed for adjustment, but not dissolution. And, certainly not to take the money directly from racing and hand it over to billionaires who just happen to be friends or business relations of the powers at the OLG. Think this is one for Fifth Estate or W5. In fact,if Darryl's story is forwarded, I believe Fifth Estate would run with it, and expose for all. This is a cover-up that stinks worse that any horse stall.

Excellent piece Darryl....lets play the game why not put this piece as an ad in the selected newspapers. Revenue is bottom line and will not be turned down in these newspapers. The Aregentinian govt is doing the same (regarding the Falklands) in the British Press tsking out full page ads... which has resulted in International coverage.
This could be the TSN turning point in the whole debacle and we can get back to racing and breeding ......

Great job breaking down the Bingo sleight of hand.

I agree with other posters -- this story needs to get to the mainstream media.

Any chance Steve Paikin (TVO The Agenda) would have Darryl on his show?.... might get the ball rolling, and I believe there is a sense that they owe the racing industry after the disjointed OMAFRA panel show.

Would do well to get Sue Leslie (OHRIA) and Dennis Mills (Racing Future) to push a few buttons. Sue has had good luck with "The Motts", and Dennis seems to have a good relationship with John Oakley.

As Darryl points out Post Media has Godfrey as it's CEO. In Toronto that leaves The Star or The Sun. Outside of Toronto the story would almost need to be broke by Sun Media. They have papers in London, Ottawa and Sudbury -- all markets that have much at stake. They also have papers in many key smaller markets (ie Sarnia, Owen Sound, Woodstock, Hanover and Barrie)

I would encourage everyone to send this story to as many media outlets as possible, the clock is ticking.

Like all corrupt people and politicians, follow the money and you will have your answers. I'm sure alot of these people behind this will end up employed by the bingo consortiums.

Thanks for a great article Darryl. I hope you are successful getting this article into the mainstream media. I have posted the link to my FB account and am encouraging friends and family to share the story as well (it looks to be getting around pretty well). This plan was clearly set out in the modernization plan released by the OLG last Spring. The cancellation of the SARP was a big enough hit to the industry to detract from the remainder of the OLG (Liberal) plan for gambling in Ontario. I find it astounding that the Liberals are now running the province as though they have a majority government. I wasn't aware that proroguing gave them this ability.

Don't bother trying to send this to 10 addresses.....copy & paste the whole article into a newly created email and you can send then to anyone and everyone that is in your address book...

Darryl, you are to be congratulated for attempting to explain the reasoning behind the inexplicable craziness that is going on in Ontario politics. I think that a government commission a la Charbonneau Commission in Quebec, is called for.

I, for one, cannot fathom the reasoning behind the OLG/Ontario government cancellation of SARP and their plans for slots. Who are the winners? We know who the losers are.

Standardbred Canada should pay to have this article put in every major newspaper in Ontario...

Tried to email this article to all MPPs but system would only allow 10 email addresses! BTW, has anyone researched how downtown casinos have ruined the neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, Atlantic City etc.

Just keep whining and complaining to each other. That has worked well the last 2 years right?? Will you never learn. The University students in Quebec demonstrated on mass and won. The first Nations demonstrated and won. Chief Spencer goes on a hunger strike to the death(not a bluff), and First Nations will win again.

Thanks Darryl -
get this out
take it to your local paper
post it somewhere

Bingo terminals, eh? They must think we're morons.

If it walks like a duck, quacks likes a duck, it must be a duck.

Bravo Darryl Kaplan! And the Truth shall set you free! There is a 90 day window to pressure this government to take responsibility and reverse this horrific and morally corrupt decision...reinstate SARP NOW.

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