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OHRIA Responds To Slots-At-Racetracks Partnership Review


Published: February 13, 2012 4:01 pm ET

Last Comment: February 18, 2012 5:10 pm ET | 22 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

While the official word is expected to be announced on Wednesday, Ontario's Finance Minister Dwight Duncan revealed details of Don Drummond's economic report that could mean changes for the province's horse racing industry.

In addressing the Economic Club of Canada ahead of Wednesday's release, Duncan stated that the cash-strapped government will review the $345 million allotted to quarter, thoroughbred and harness racing in Ontario each year through the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Commission's slots-at-racetracks partnership.

"We are considering if government should be in a specific line of business or service delivery," said Duncan. "If not, then we will get out of that business."

“The OLG slots at racetracks program is not a subsidy, it is a successful revenue sharing partnership between the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Horse Racing Industry and the municipalities that host OLG slots at racetracks,” said Sue Leslie, President of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

A November, 2011 report for OHRIA on the economic impacts of Ontario’s horse racing industry demonstrates the significant economic benefit the industry continues to have on rural Ontario. Some of the key findings include:

  • Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry employs an estimated 60,000 Ontarians and pays a total of $1.5 billion dollars of wages and salaries each year in Ontario. The horse racing industry is the second largest sub-sector of the agricultural economy with a contribution in excess of wheat, eggs, poultry and hogs in 2010.
  • Over the last decade annual expenditures by the horse racing industry has increased by 67% to $2 billion dollars in 2010 from $1.2 billion in 2000. Approximately 80% of this expenditure occurs in Ontario’s rural agriculture communities where it provides much needed economic growth.
  • Government revenue from Ontario’s horse racing revenue has increased by 27% over the last ten years with the province of Ontario receiving $261 million dollars a year from industry not including OLG profits from slot machines.

“Eliminating the OLG slots at racetrack program would substantially reduce jobs in rural Ontario and take $138 million dollars of funding from the municipalities that host OLG slots at racetracks,” continued Leslie. “We are hopeful the government of Ontario will recognize the damage that would be done to both the rural and municipal Ontario economy if they were to change or reduce the OLG slots revenue sharing program.”

An economic study fact sheet and full report are available for download on OHRIA website or at the following links:
Horse Racing Partnership Highlights
Economic Impact Study


February 18, 2012 - 5:10 pmThe OHRIA response is very

The OHRIA response is very good. How about OHRIA, SC, OHHA, COSA etc. posting it in the Tor. Star, Sun,and every other newspaper. It would not be nearly as costly as letting this thing happen.

February 17, 2012 - 5:50 pmmike magnus i cant believe

mike magnus SAID...

mike magnus

i cant believe that anybody would listen to a thing that don drummond says he implys that we should get rid of older people by planning their death so it doesnt cost health care any money. well id sooner keep granny than you don. 60 thousand people work in the horse industry that pay taxes every week. how bought all the money spent on trucks trailers to transport the horses and all the money spent on taxes on everything that horse people buy the list is long bottom line THE HORSE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE puts millions of dollars in the government kitty every year the government does not pay the horse industry ONE DOLLAR in handouts in a year so Dalton if your smart dont ruin the lives of 60 thousand people '

February 16, 2012 - 2:58 pmCan any one supply me or

Can any one supply me or anyone else that might need it, with the email address of Mr Duncan. I want to send him an email with all the people, business, suppliers etc. that he is going affect if he goes ahead with taking the slot money away from the racehorse business.

February 16, 2012 - 12:58 pmin this time of

dave mcgee SAID...

in this time of puzzlement--lets remember this LIBERAL government is in the minority--e-mail or call your local opposition mp and voice your concern--get them to opposed vigoursly this crap and where was all this during the past election--nothing was said--only the rosy promises of a better ontario--if we have to have another election--so be it--goodbye liberals

February 15, 2012 - 12:15 pmi thought the slots at the

bill gemmill SAID...

i thought the slots at the track was accomplished through an agreement between the reacetracks and the horsemen .
in return for the slots, the racetrack operator, the horsemen, the local municipality, and the provincial governement all got a %.
It's my understanding that the PROVINCE put nothing into building the infrastructure to support the racetrack casino's.
So the question is light of the legal agreements between racetrack operators and the horsemen what exactly is being proposed?
Is the province going to rescind the casino licenses for the racetracks and allow slots in every bar and restaurant?
What the hell is the Liberal government proposing here?
This is not and never was a subsidy, so what is being proposed here looks and smells like a cash grab

February 15, 2012 - 12:14 pmIt comes down to the race

It comes down to the race industry under political harassment, nothing less. The government shouild be ashamed when considering all the waste of billions on themselves and their freebies for all the corporate friends. Give us a Break !

February 15, 2012 - 8:39 amThe half billion that goes

Roy Steele SAID...

The half billion that goes off shore every year thats the money Mr Duncan should be going after. Not putting the fear of god into everyone in the industry. Nice of him to equate the slots money into insuline pumps. I can equate windmill money with the samsung deal into a lot more health care projects. The very same windmills that cannot be used because we have a defunct grid system. We have in Windsor here an army of bulldozers paving the way for a bridge that hasnt been approved and a picture of Mr Duncan putting the first spade into the ground. So the tactic is simple lets pit one industry against the other and the Govt doesnt shoulder any blame. What Mr Duncan has in effect done has put a cloud over the whole industry try and sell your horse tomorrow, forget about getting a good price at the sales and heaven forbid your thinking about putting your mare in foal.
Nice one Dwight SCARE ECONOMICS 101 I think you have got this one wrong and underestimated the people in the industry, no they are not college graduates but hardworking people that will fight till the bitter end.
I believe you have awoke a sleeping tiger but I dont think you will be around to long to confront it.

February 15, 2012 - 7:25 amthe reason the slots where

jeff coleman SAID...

the reason the slots where allowed into Ontario in the first place was because of the horse racing ..... now it is going to kill it's own business.

February 14, 2012 - 11:16 pmEveryone Please

Bob Colbert SAID...

Everyone Please Listen.....

Take it from me, This is real and everyone needs to band together and make a stand now!!! I lived through this in New Jersey and its really bad news. Here the people didn't react correctly and the industry is suffering. Mr Gural is trying as best as possible but the long term forcast is still bleak. You must make it understood that you will not stand for this and YOU have the power to make a change in Government if your not happy. Let them know that. Don't allow them to tear away the industry that has been around for over a 100 years and is profitable.

February 14, 2012 - 6:37 pmNo surprise here! Ontario

Bruce Irving SAID...

No surprise here! Ontario gov`t are cutting back their spending in all departments. Do the Horse Industry should be the exception? No, let`s be realistic here!

This is the time to be proactive. Nobody care more about horse racing than the Horsemen groups not the racetracks or Ontario gov`t. It is time for COSA and OHHA to take the lead like investing in Racing Development Sustainability program that Standardbred Canada proposed last year. Don`t like the plan. Fine, bring out the alternatives. Just don`t sit back and do nothing!

February 15, 2012 - 9:07 amWhat is the government going

Lynne Magee SAID...

What is the government going to do with that yearly 345 million? They can say that that they could use the money to put into health and education but will it really get there? Not bloody likely. It is more reasonable to believe that it will be frittered away along with so many more of our hard-earned dollars. How is the unemployment number going to look to investors? How is the government going to look after all of those unemployed horse people? Maybe the 345 million will end up back in their pockets through the welfare programs??? Again, not likely.

February 14, 2012 - 4:39 pmWe must get out the message

Robert Coole SAID...

We must get out the message that we are not receiving a subsidy, but it is a revenue sharing agreement that helps to keep the small communities thriving in Ontario. Please contact your local MPP, cabinet ministers and the Premier that we are not the cause of a $16 billion deficit, as our revenue sharing is only $345 million, or .0215% of the deficit. We are not the ones stealing insulin pumps, it was his E-Health scandal.

February 14, 2012 - 3:27 pmThere is a ripple effect

There is a ripple effect that will certainly happen, it's not just about the closure of racetracks and the proposed financial cuts-there's the breeding industry; What happens to all the "mom and pop" farms who work day and night endlessly in order to try and raise that special horse....that "San Pail" or "Daylon Magician"?

The government feels that "pulling the reins" on the racing industry is a great way to save, but every horse person knows what happens when you pull too tight on the reins of a horse...They fight!

February 14, 2012 - 2:51 pmThis is a major concern for

This is a major concern for all of us in the industry and the government needs to hear from all of us, not just our organizations.We need to start on-line petitions so our voice(s)is heard.Anyone know how to do that?

February 14, 2012 - 2:13 pmI vote against proposed

I vote against proposed cuts. This is a really bad idea. Government should not cut any more jobs in ON especially in horse racing industry which contributes to our community for a long time.

February 14, 2012 - 1:22 pmDave-Wyndym Farm I was very

Dave Perkins SAID...

Dave-Wyndym Farm
I was very distressed hearing this development as well. Not for myself but for the people in the industry- I have met so many that work long days back to back for little reward- I did manage to get a lengthy e-mail read on air today (620 talk radio Niagara)that spoke to the impact on harness racing and listed some of the key findings of the OHRIA study- it followed an on air interview with the Fort Erie track connections- maybe it will take some of the spin these Liberals will try by presenting some facts.

February 14, 2012 - 1:05 pmMr Dwight Duncan, in a

Mr Dwight Duncan, in a release on Jan. 20 you said the following:

“The partnership between OLG gaming sites and the 23 host communities continues to provide considerable advantages to people across Ontario,” said Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance. “Municipalities are enabled to make improvements to infrastructure and community programs by the sharing of gaming revenues, while the sites themselves create employment opportunities and stimulate tourism within our province.”

How this is going to stimulate tourism? How this is going to create employment? Once you've covered those, what your plan is 3 years from now when you've irreparably damaged an industry, the jobs associated with it and still don't have enough cash to bail out your government?

Lou Sorella
Owner, Fan and Horse Racing Enthusiast.

February 14, 2012 - 11:14 amHow did racing survive for

Ted Decker SAID...

How did racing survive for so many years prior to slots at racetracks? What kind of advertising and promoting does harness racing get today? Everyone has jumped on the slot money bandwagon and now that it is being challenged all kinds of concerns.

February 14, 2012 - 11:00 amWhen I read last night about

When I read last night about the slots money being pulled, I posted in anger, and SC in their wisdom did not print it. They were right to pull down my post.

When I hear about the slots money being grabbed back, as a horse player/fan/interested person, for some reason, a feeling came over me to forget about racing entirely.
This feeling is wrong--I work hard and one of the things I enjoy is studying the results and determine why a certain horse won (or lost.)

I am rubbing shoulders with Billy Davis Jr. Not in the true sense as I don't know him nor have I ever been introduced personally. But his tweets and the articles by SC put us in a make believe world of lean athletes in sunglasses leaning away back in their bikes, sneaking a look at each other to see which nose will prevail.

Look at the stories--Ron Feagan, Wes Coke, Ross Curran, The Hie clan,Randy and trainers listing him to drive.Add Billy Davis Jr. tweeting to his fans--this opens up a new avenue of pleasure.

Here is a story about Ron Feagan that I will always hold close to my heart: On a Thursday night at Greenwood, he was on a trotter at high odds.An announcement came over the speaker that this same horse had raced as a pacer the night before. This was announced at about 7 minutes to post.He had won the night before at a good price and now would try a different gait.When the race as a trotter was over, Feagan had himself a $56.00 winner. I had noticed or heard the announcement, and had some money on him ($20.00)
This is why horse racing is important--we are trying to find that small snippet of info
that will give us an advantage.

To see athlete,such as Davis, Doug Hie, and Carman H., Randy W., Jeff Gillis, Don Graham(makes drivers suits);these well comditioned figures are the same as hockey players to me.

Anyway, Agriculture Canada should have something to say about the slots and the money being taken away.60,000 jobs will mean more welfare and UI$ being paid out.

I have to leave now as the races are making me melancholy.Someone is trying to take away my fun. Even oldtimers need fun once in awhile.All the fun they can get.

February 14, 2012 - 9:51 amTHIS IS REALLY BAD


Congratulations to the provincial government for finding new ways to kill jobs and congratulations to the horse racing industry in general for disregarding the handwriting on the wall up until now.

February 14, 2012 - 9:17 amThis is a deadly threat to

Cam McKnight SAID...

This is a deadly threat to racing, and people in this industry need to react immediately. If the government pulls the Lottery Subsidy, racing in Ontario will mirror Quebec -- gone.

It's time to stop all of the petty infighting, and circle the wagons. OHRIA with the help of OHHA, COSA, SBOA need to call a joint meeting involving thoroughbred and quarter horse representatives and coordinate an immediate strategic response to Mr. Duncan, and Mr. McGuinty.

There are some 60,000 people employed because of the Racing Industry in Ontario. If the subsidy were eliminated, half of those jobs would probably disappear within six months.

This would be comparable to shutting down 20 or 30 automotive plants -- something the government would never allow.

30,000 lost jobs would cause a spike in the unemployment rate, would cost governments millions in unemployment/welfare payments, and would decimate a large sector of rural Ontario.

Reading the various stories and reports from today's announcement, the government is already trying to stir public sentiment in an effort to create support for their proposal. The Racing Industry needs to start fighting back IMMEDIATELY. This means selling the public on the value of the racing industry (through the media), and face to face meetings with Mr, Duncan, and Mr McGuinty, to make them aware of the consequences/impacts of withdrawing the OLG subsidy.

This is a minority government. Minority governments bend to the will of the people because that's how they stay in power. This well may be a struggle for survival fro the racing Industry in Ontario, and there is an immediate need to make this government understand the consequences of killing this industry.

Cam McKnight

February 13, 2012 - 7:08 pmThis is the exact message we

Geoff Maltby SAID...

This is the exact message we need to get out to the general public not just horse people. We can not allow the general public to believe we are subsidized, they need to understand there is alot more to the partnership then just " rich racehorse people" being subsidized, which I am sure the Government will portray us. So please let your friends , neighbours and local politician know. We are the ones responsible to save our great sport from a huge political mistake.

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