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Dr. Downey Speaks With The CBC

Published: December 19, 2013 1:36 pm ET

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In a interview with the CBC, Horse Racing New Brunswick President Dr. Mitchell Downey has commented on the current situation between the provincial government and the horse racing industry.

Earlier this year, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation undertook a study to investigate whether a racino-type expansion would be feasible at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John. The ALC study came to the conclusion that racino expansion at EPR would not be viable, which prompted Dr. Downey, who is also Standardbred Canada’s current Chair, to say that the study’s findings were not accurate.

Dr. Downey expanded on HRNB’s position during the CBC interview.

“Back in 2009 when we (HRNB) were formed, we had a contract with the provincial government for an allocation of 150 VLT terminals to the industry,” Dr. Downey said. “In 2012, the government opted out of that contract… which they were perfectly allowed to do. So, our board worked very hard in 2012 to see the remainder of those machines allocated. The premise behind them was to go to the racetracks and entertainment facilities.”

Dr. Downey went on to say, “In September of 2012, Horse Racing New Brunswick announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Woodstock First Nations Economic Development to see a new racetrack or racino-like facility constructed in Saint John. The next day, government cancelled our contract and denied us access to the VLTs. We had the remainder of the machines allocated, as well, on other contracts.”

Dr. Downey explained that HRNB has received two legal opinions on the matter which have both “considered the province to be in breach of that contract.”

The CBC interview can be accessed below.

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